The last couple of days have been gloomy and rainy days. A whole lot of 90% chances of rain. The other night I went on a quick 20 mile ride after work racing the sun as it was setting. As I passed the falls I was shocked at their lack of water. I’m sure with all of this rain the falls are looking mighty and intense again.
I’ve put in some short rides but more so I have spent my rainy days off working out indoors, reading, planning, researching bike gear and adding things to The Bumble. The accessories have been piling up in the corner of the room because I’d rather just ride than mess with adding fenders and such. But now look at ’em- all ready for an adventure!
Here’s what I’ve added:
MKS Sylvan Touring Pedals with Power Grips: After much debate, research, endless conversations, trying multiple pedals, I have decided to go with this combination. Ok let me be straight up, I have yet to try clipless pedals and I have no intention of doing so anytime soon. It’s not because of a fear of being locked to my bike as I crash, but more so of not wanting to buy a special pair of shoes and also because I don’t want to go on an adventure with an extra pair of shoes. I want to bike and hike and wander around in cities all in one pair of shoes. I tried a couple of pairs of pedals with clips but I found that my foot would often slide to far forward and I had a difficult time getting going on a steep incline with them (yes this means I had to stop half way up this difficult climb.) I’d get my right foot in and then struggle to push on while trying to flip the pedal and get my left foot in. Not for me! So after reading many reviews I went for the MKS touring pedals. I was also interested in the Power Grip straps (kind of like the straps you see on stationary bikes) but thought I’d try the pedals out alone first. My first ride with them was just under 40 miles. I was pretty happy but a couple of times I felt my foot inching forward and felt a little nervous standing and riding up inclines with them. I was wearing my Keens which have excellent grip but every so often my foot would slide on the pedals. Then I rode the Cades Cove loop in the pouring rain with the pedals. My feet were slipping, nothing really terrible, but enough where I wasn’t comfortable riding with just platforms.
So now I have added the Power Grips. They were really easy to install and I flipped them over (an idea others had mentioned in their reviews) so you don’t have to see their cheesy sounding name shimmering across the strap. Thus far I am really happy with how they feel and how they support my feet. It really didn’t take much to adjust them to where I want them either. The edges felt a little stiff and sharp so I decided to not wear them in with my Keens, fearing that they might rub on my bare feet, other than that, no concerns, yet.
SKS Fenders: I once attempted to put Planet Bike fenders on my previous bike, my old trusty Ross road bike. Those were pretty easy to put on but they just didn’t fit on my bike well, Bob did not want fenders. Based on my little experience with them, I thought they were ok. I have heard good things about them as well. Basically those and the SKS fenders tend to be pretty common. I ended up going with SKS- they do have a rad set up for the front stays called “securi-clip” it’s supposed to allow the stays to pop out of the bracket if anything gets stuck between the fender and the tire. This is good because a jam could be bad for you, your tire and your bike overall.
Considering the fact that I put the fenders on alone, without a stand, in my bedroom and with only my multitool, plus I refused to take off the rear rack, I’d say they are fairly easy to put on. I could think of better instances and resources to have, but it was doable. I haven’t trimmed down the stays yet because I want to make sure everything is adjusted to my liking. Plus I need to figure out what kind of tires I’ll be getting for our future plans. I for sure want to snip the stays down on the front fender though… I haven’t gone for a ride yet, but I fear they might get slightly in the way… maybe.
Tubus Front and Rear Racks: Yet another item that I read up on forever about. I can tell you that there are some glorious racks out there that I would love to have but that cost way beyond my small budget. I did drool over them all for awhile but finally had to say no. I was sold on Tubus racks for a couple of reasons. I knew I wanted chromoly steel racks for their strength and they aren’t ridiculously heavy either. Matt and I are both pretty stoked about their warranty as well that includes a 3 year mobile warranty. I think that was the biggest selling point, that they’ll deliver anywhere in the world, for free, if something breaks (not due to poor mounting or an accident).
Also I decided to mount the little road pump. I’ve read way too many reviews trying to find a pump that would last a long time, get the tubes up to the right pressure and would also be easy to carry plus not be crazy expensive. After reading way too much about all of this I went with Topeak’s Road Morph G. Prior to this I had a Planet Bike road pump and I have a floor pump as well, a lower range Serfas one. Now I’m wishing I would have just by-passed both of these and just bought the one I wanted. The cost of the two combined was the same cost as the Topeak pump but the two don’t even compare. I don’t even use the floor pump one anymore. The nozzle is crap and I can’t ever get it to do its job smoothly. Maybe it’s just because I am awkward and clumsy.
I in no way want to come off as some sort of person who thinks you have to drop all this money into fancy bike stuff. Rather I think it’s not worth it to spend money on crappy gear that won’t last long that you will just have to replace thus supporting consumerism and wastefulness and sweatshops even more! I don’t get the top of the line stuff out there, but I try to get somewhere in between that will last through long adventures and beyond.
You don’t even want to know how many reviews I read on things before I actually make a purchase. Most of what I have purchased has been through the local bike shop where I bought my Surly from, Cycology. They are patient and awesome at ordering whatever I am looking for, giving advice and they have decent gear in stock as well. The times that I have been spontaneous (as with the previous bike pumps) I end up later regretting my decisions.
What I am getting at with all of this is that I’m not writing all of this up to tell you “Hey go buy stuff because if you don’t go shopping the terrorists will win!” I’m writing this to share my thoughts on reviews I have read, why I decided to get a particular item, and gear I have used that will maybe help those in search of similar items. Granted I haven’t used much of this stuff yet, but it will be getting plenty of use very soon.
Whoa I never thought I could get tired of talking about bike gear and outdoor gear but I just typed way more than I planned to with this initial introduction. I’ve hardly even used any of this yet, but hopefully this will be somewhat helpful. I forgot to mention that I did ride into town and back with weight in the rear panniers, it felt pretty weird, but The Bumble handled things quite nicely.
Ok, now I must go find some sleep so I can ride tomorrow, rain or shine!