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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Angeles Crest Mirror [message snippet]

I finally got a chance to test out my new rearview mirror on The Crest this last Sunday. And while it's not exactly perfect I have to say that it really did make the descent experience a lot more pleasurable and I think safer. In the past I've always felt like I really needed to hug the right side of the lane for too much of the time because I could never tell if a car was behind me (too much wind in the ears) without looking back. This last descent though was fantastic as I could edge out into the center of the lane for much of it and really get a good tuck-and-fly feeling going down. It was also a fairly low traffic day up there which made things nice as well. The mirror has an easy on/off strap so I'll just use it on days when I'm planning to go up the hill. It can attach almost anywhere but it seemed the best and least hand position restricting and line of sight restricting spot was on the left bar end. Not a super easy place to look at when you're free falling at 35 miles an hour but okay enough. I have to recommend it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

patching the patch kit and a related story

I've been carrying around a little patch kit, inner tube repair kit, for a while now, maybe a year or two - I've pretty much always carried a patch kit, actually, but that's how long this particular kit has been in my seat bag. I haven't needed to use it much. I haven't had a flat tire in about a year. I can say that without being superstitious because there actually was a flat incident a couple weeks ago but I'm not counting it as a flat tire because when you're hopping a curb on your road bike to avoid a crash and your rear wheel doesn't quite lift up high enough and so smashes into the curb and snake bites the inner tube along with tweaking and gouging the rim, well, I can't count that as a flat tire, you know, I mean, you've got to have reasonable expectations of what your equipment is capable of withstanding beyond which failing is not really failing but just misuse. So I haven't used that patch kit. But it's been in that seat bag getting smashed and crammed around long enough that the little plastic box it came nicely fitted into has now shattered on one end - right wear the allen wrench set butts up against it. Two slips of duct tape later and it's fine for another years-long ride. 

There's this wheeled cart I've been pushing around for about a year, goes by the name B.O.B. I never thought I'd have to fix a flat on a goddamned stroller! but that's just what my life has come to. Somehow we managed to roll home with three holes in one tube! So I've been doing a lot of patchwork in the garage. And yes, I got out that little crushed up patch kit I mentioned earlier. But I didn't want to use up its nice little orange-and-black patches - I wanted to save them so that I could carry them around under my seat for another few years and never end up using them. But I'd heard that you can cut up pieces of old inner tubes and use them as patches. I tried this and it works okay. You have to be a little more careful with the whole process of patching the tube. Some say it's best to cut the old tube patches into circles although I didn't find that to be particularly helpful and have decided that a rectangle works just as well and/or perhaps better. Of course, as always, you'll want to shave off any ridges or irregularities on the tube and the patch. And I do mean shave. Most people say sand using that tiny little piece of sandpaper supplied with the patch kit. But a small knife blade shaves those seems of really well. And wipe off that inner dust from the old inner tube/patch. And for icing you can take a scrap of plastic bag or something to apply on top of the patch and vulcanizing fluid. This will keep your hands a little cleaner/healthier (carcinogenic?) and keep the inner tube from bonding with the tire when you've got it set back inside.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013