Autumnal photos and new bike dread

The height of the Aspens and Cotttonwoods has passed, but the Larches are just coming into form.

I’m excited to get a new bike.  Bikes are really cool, one of those items whose durability, aesthetic potential, and utility all unite and form a strong bond.  To prepare, and prep the Karate Monkey for winter (and rehab it after a very muddy and wet weekend), I spent more time than I care to admit last night and the previous night futzing with grease and tool in the basement.  I’ve biked less this year than any year since 2003, and the never-sharp edge of my mechanical acumen has only dulled as a result.  Things like cleaning and regreasing a freehub and installing and adjusting derailleurs took far too long.

The larch is an enchanting creature.

This dearth of mechanical wherewithall is no doubt part, but only part, of my building new bike dread.  While the drivetrain will be a bit unconventional, the complexities promise to be much less than some of my past experiences (trying to run brifters on a mountain bike).  Beyond the futzing which will doubtlessly occur, and the material setbacks which are almost certain (I’m content if I only break cheap things), the primary source of new bike dread is the process of becoming friends with the new bike.

Historically, this takes a long time.  Finding the right position, adapting to handling quirks, really learning how it behaves at the outer edge of riding control and conditions.  Maybe if I had owned more bikes in the past I wouldn’t find this such a big deal, but a big part of me thinks not.  It even takes me ages to finally get the ergons sitting just right.

I like this face of Bowman.  The larches seem especially robust this fall.

Fighting the dread of mechanical and personal acclimation is the process of researching new trips to do with the new tool in the shed.  Turns out there is a rather impressive network of groomed and regularly traveled snowmachine trails within a two-hour radius.  Jill, prepare to be jealous.

This is gear at its highest function: helping you see the immediate world in new ways.

8 thoughts on “Autumnal photos and new bike dread

  1. fatbike….?

    and a unique drivetrain? IGH?
    brifters on a woodchipper type bar? or moustache bar?

    be wary of the brifters. i ran stock shimano clicky shifters on my pugs.
    poor shifting in cold weather, and the front control froze up in the backcountry. this cut out me shifting to the little ring, which cut my ride short.
    i eventually destroyed the internals. (i too break things, especially bike things…)
    much happier with shimano bar ends on paul thumbies.
    but, if you are running a mountain drop bar, you could just run bar ends in their usual places.
    yes, i suppose they could still freeze up…

    1. Four years ago my first setup with my Lenz was brifters on a Midge bar. Found out the hard way that they don’t work with a mtb front derailleur. Went to a bar end for the front shifting.

      As of last night the Karate Monkey is 2 x 5. Sora front derailleur, X9 twistie. XT back, thumbie on friction mode. I like the thumbie a lot. Weird to have two derailleurs on one bike.

      The Mukluk will have two chainrings (20, 32) and a 17/19 dos eno freewheel. Hand shift between the rings, shift the cogs with the barrell adjuster of an old road derailleur. No shifters or housing.

      1. This sounds excellent. My pugs has gone to 2×9, and I’ve considered running it dinglespeed. I like your setup, I wonder how big the jump between cogs is on the dinglecog and how many turns it will take to center the derailer.

        With the varying conditions I’ve found with snow in the northeast I’d likely run a low geared IGH of I rebuild my wheel.

        Can’t wait to see some adventure reports.

  2. I had trouble concentrating on bicycle talk when I saw the snow on Rainbow. Oh how I want to ski that peak. But I digress. I too am suffer from having a “never-sharp edge” on “my mechanical acumen” as well. Things take longer to adjust when you do it as an amateur but the more you fix and fiddle with your new steed the more you become attuned to it’s intricacies. More importantly you will appreciate the bicycle far more when the workings of it are a product of your own labor and care.

    1. Amen on the last sentence. Why I do things myself which take 2 hours rather than pay someone 30 bucks to do it 20 minutes.

  3. Indeed I am jealous. The snow biking opportunities around Missoula were decidedly lacking, so I never really saw what Montana has to offer. I’m planning a Yukon bike tour in February and White Mountains 100 in March, so I will be able to get a bit of a snow bike fix, but it’s true I’ll have to train on the beach and year-round mountain biking. (Poor me.)

    I will miss the snow this winter. Prepare for a parade of comments about how jealous I am.

  4. I find myself in the same situation – I wrench on my bikes and my wife’s (9 bikes total and my wife is getting pissed). Unfortunate I go through periods of “mechanical absence” and I have so many bikes that span so many generational time periods I can’t recall specs like I should and the learning curve is once again reinvented! But I love building and riding a new bike. The saving grace is my wife bought me the Barnett manual a couple years ago now I have all specs and instructions only a couple key strokes away. But the friend has turned into foe as I’m continuously told “why have you not built that bike”!

  5. Sheldon Brown is your friend.

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