29’er Belt Drive Saga

I got my Spot out of the shop, where I had it in for repairs. Again.

As you can tell, I’m pretty obsessive about my bikes. I like to keep them maintained in tip top shape. I spend a lot of time in the saddle, and it’s utility riding. I don’t ride much recreationally (mountain biking, ‘cross racing, road racing, ?), though I might start.

I commute to work on my bike, year ’round. Coming home, of course I’m in a hurry, but I have to be at work at a certain time, and I’m often late. I’m always in a hurry in the morning.

For me, commuting is like a sport. It’s a challenge, physically, and mentally. It requires focus, especially in winter, in the dark. There’s a little road, a lot of path (some not cleared regularly in winter), and some terrain on occasion. The weather’s supposed to get nasty. It can be hard on a bike, especially when you crash. Hard on me too. My knee is still healing from a stupid crash a month ago. I’m going to get some knee and elbow pads for winter.

But they don’t make them for winter, so they’re not available in winter. This, from a company from Sweden?

The entire world, it seems, is sold out of the POC VPD Elbow and knee pads in my size. They feature a polymer gel (science?) substance I expect we’ll see on a lot of hockey padding soon. It’s pliable when next to your skin, like a gel. When it’s hit hard, it hardens instantly. like a hardshell plastic. I don’t really understand the science.

What it means to me, is that it’s thin. pliable, fits easily under your pants, and you don’t really think about it when you’re riding. You can get it for your knees, elbows, ankles, and they have a t-shirt thing with shoulder, chest, and back. They even have shorts with pads on the hip bone, tailbone, and upper thigh areas.

We’ll see. United has the 661 pads with similar technology that may be as good. I’m getting pads for sure, though.

I’m glad I sprung for a good light. I don’t know how I made it last year with the cheap one. I was running both, and the first day after my icy crash (not a bruise), the old light just exploded apart on a small bump. I found one battery, but as for the rest, ?

The Stella works fantastic, if you remember to keep it charged up.

I have a great Cateye rear light, but I need to order another part, because I snapped it off during my other slow motion crash (“Thanks, Bell Helmet”, below). The Cateye is the single best tail light made. You can even see it bright in the daytime. That doesn’t hurt.

I run two lights in the front, and four in the rear (two up high, on my back pack).

And, I’ll be putting my christmas lights on my bike again this year. Last year, I was the only one. Probably this year, too.

I’m, literally, lit up like a christmas tree.

The Spot is supposed to be my winter bike. I’m still nervous about the crank arm. I’m getting a torque wrench for christmas. The Spot handles much better than the TriCross on ice and snow, so far. It’s more stable, especially when barely moving. The disc brakes are taking getting used to. There’s no question they stop better than the cross brakes, but sometimes I prefer the sponginess of the cantilevers.

The front suspension makes a difference. The displacement (from the wide tires) helps in most conditions (though not all). The gear ratio is bang on for winter conditions. I’m going to take the tire pressure down very low. Last year I had it so low on the TriCross it was bottoming out on the rims over hard bumps. I’m going to try it pretty low tomorrow.

I might look for some new handlebars that aren’t as wide as the Ridley ones on there now (seen in the picture at the top of the page). They’re pretty wide, especially with the mirror on. Not changing that for awhile, though.

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