Friday, September 28, 2012

Scenes Along the Road

Late September. I’m not in quite the shape I’d like to be, vis a vis the bicycle.

But I’m a-tryin’. I’m out there turning the cranks as often as possible. And I keep passing interesting things along the way, like the buffalo at right.

There haven't been any wild buffalo in the American west for a long, long time, so far as I know. Maybe a few stray here and there.

The beast seen here is one of a herd off Nelson Road in northern Boulder County, Colorado, not too far from where my daughter takes riding lessons. In all likelihood, this critter is destined to end up as a buffalo burger, or a steak on someone's plate.

The herd was right up along the side of the road when I passed it in a car on the way to my daughter's lesson. But by the time we had her saddled up and I had ridden my bike back, they had moved away from the fence. I didn't have a zoom lens, but I think this picture looks okay.

And how about this sign? I think its most important line is, "we load for you." Yeah, the cow manure is organic. That's very good to know, in this green and golden era.

But, we load for you. Oh yeah. That's what really counts.

Bikes have been on my mind a lot lately. I shall spend the balance of this post writing whatever I think about them, and illustrating it with additional photos that I've taken during the course of one ride or another. I always take along a small digital camera when I ride.

I'm trying to learn some bicycle mechanics, so that I become less dependent on the local bike shop. (The shop I most often haunt is Louisville Cyclery.) Toward that end, I've gone to a few workshops at Community Cycles, a very cool cycling cooperative not too far from where I live.

Just recently, in fact, I took a shifters and derailleurs class there. So emboldened was I, that afterward I replaced the shifter cables to the front derailleur on my guinea pig bike, an old Peugeot that someone gave to me a few years back. Then I changed the brake cables on my wife's bike.

Work like this is small potatoes to those who know what the hell they're doing. It's still a big potato for me, although I almost feel like I know what I'm doing.

Aside from the workshops, my chief inspirations and guides include the web site of the late Sheldon Brown, a bike mechanics guru of some renown. I'm also guided by Lennard Zinn, a frame builder who has written several very useful bike repair books – titled, rather predictably, Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance (and ...of Mountain Bike Maintenance).

For the time being, it's going to be brakes and derailleurs. So far I've limited myself mostly to cables, although I'm fiddling with the brake levers on that guinea pig bike. Someone gave me an old Park Tools bike stand (people keep giving me stuff!) ... so I'll move on to other areas of the bike, in due time.

(I made a post similar to this one early this summer.)

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