Saturday, 28 July 2012

Dahon saves the day

Generally, the train I use to commute is very reliable but once or twice recently has been delayed. There's a lot more rail traffic at the moment as a result of the Olympics, but last night it was cancelled altogether. No bus alternative either just the option to wait an hour for the next one or go miles out of my way via another city. Fortunately, I always have a third option - cycle all the way home.

Well it was a lovely evening so I girded my loins, ate a banana and headed off. From the station home, it's eighteen miles in all and quite a pleasant rise really. Once clear of the city, it's miles of rural A road and do I put the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my iPod and pedalled.

I did this once before and seem to remember some relatively harsh hills but yesterday was different. I must have got fitter and stronger because at no point did I need first gear (I rarely ever do these days) and spent most of the journey rocking along in third gear. The D3HG really needs higher gearing for me now. The stock gears are fine for sedate town riding or the relatively unfit but I need something more to push on. I've considered a new crank and larger chain ring before but noticed this week that a smaller 14T rear sprocket is still available at some places to replace the stock 16T one. It looks at first glance as though the chain may have to run close to the hub cover, but for under a fiver I'm prepared to try it! That mod should raise the gearing quite nicely and give me a faster bike.

All in all though, it was a really pleasant ride back and far from any sort of inconvenience to be honest. People I know are amazed that folding bikes are so capable on little wheels but they really are. With the higher gearing mentioned earlier, my bike would be capable of serious distance at a decent pace. Good old Dahon.

Another mod I've considered for a while is the addition of some bar ends to increase the number of hand positions available when riding. I have worried though that they may impede the way in which the bike folds. Until recently, I had completely forgotten about an old set that I fitted to my beater fixie mountain bike. They are a little bigger than I was planning to fit but nevertheless earlier today I whipped them off the MTB and fitted them to the Dahon. A bit of minor adjustment later and it all works a treat! Plenty of hand positions and a fully foldable Dahon. Brilliant!

All of the cleaning and greasing the other day seems to have done the trick as well. I'd still like better pedals and maybe a small saddle bag for breakdown essentials and I'd love. Brooks saddle too. That's all part of the fun of living with a bike for many miles. Making changes that you know are needed for functional reasons based on experience and not fashion or vanity! OK so the Brooks saddle would be a fashion thing but they are cool (and I believe comfortable too)...

On my daily rides, I often spend time in my head planning longer and more adventurous bike journeys. Some are really fantasy goals at the moment but I have some great ideas for doable long rides in the next year or two.

And of course, they will have to be on my Dahon!

My bike leaning against a bush.  Arty.

Cockpit porn.

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