New bike

Last Monday as I was cycling towards the bike rack at the YMCA my chain once again came off, and while I can usually replace it onto the gears–and get my fingers covered in grease in the process–this time I couldn’t fix it. The gear mechanism had become displaced and I couldn’t get the chain into a straight line to fit onto the cogs. In February I had to take my bike into the shop when my chain came off and I couldn’t fix it, so when it happened last week (and it was worse damage) I knew that the time had come to think about buying a new bike. In the last few months I have also had to take my bike in for brake work and I knew that my seat was on its last legs, with me needing to tape it up with both gorilla tape and bookbinding tape. How much more servicing was I going to continue paying for on this old bike? On top of that, a few weeks ago Mark just bought a new bike for himself and I enjoyed going shopping with him over several weekends, so the seed was planted.

After nineteen years with my current bike, and daily use over the past two years through all kinds of weather since my redeployment to the South Common Library where I have a forty-minute ride to work each way, that bike has seen a lot of wear. So when I took the bike in last Wednesday to get the chain and gear mechanism fixed, I expressed my intention to get a new bike. The owner Brian well knew my cycling preferences and once he had an idea of my budget he showed me a model that was closest to the bike I am currently using. It’s a 2023 Devinci Milano Disc Alivio. I wanted a few alterations: the bike seat fitted with a quick release and the quick releases from both wheels removed, replacing them with fixed axles. I also wanted a rear rack and front and rear mud guards installed, as well as a kickstand. I had an extra bell which I would attach at home.

My current bike is still rideable and I have no intention of junking it (which is what I did with my first bike in 2004, after thirteen years of use). I plan to continue using that bike only in inclement weather, but there will come a time when it breaks down and I won’t feel it worthwhile to repair. I want to keep my new bike in as pristine condition as possible.

This past Saturday was my day off and after watching all six hours of the Coronation of King Charles III I tackled the job of clearing out my garage. I wanted to store both bicycles side-by-side, to make it easy to bring them in and out. My garage floor was covered in stuff (not junk) piled all over the place. I never organized it as I stored it. I spent several hours moving things into ordered piles and trashing some stuff in the process. I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop until the job was finished. My two bins, one for garbage and one for recycling, are now overflowing. So I made some progress in decluttering. I swept and vacuumed the garage floor and by 7:30 p.m. I had room for two bikes and more.

Mark visited me this past weekend and we drove to the bike shop on Monday. I showed him the bike I wanted and placed my order for servicing and installations. I went to the Y that afternoon and walked to the shop afterward, yet had to wait only about 35 minutes because my bike was still being worked on. I was so happy to get my new bike all set up before the shop closed.

It is a different feel to ride it, as the seat is narrower. My new bike has thinner tires compared to my (now) old bike which was refitted a year and a half ago with thicker tires, to accommodate my winter rides through the snow. I did not change the tires back for summer riding. The thinner tires make the ride feel less grounded, and I can easily tell that I am moving faster. The new bike has gear shifts via handlebar switches, whereas for the past nineteen years I had been cranking my handlebars up or down to change gears. I am going to need time to get used to the gear switching, as I have to remember what switch to depress to shift up or down. The handlebars are more comfortable because they are flared for my palms to rest upon. The bike has hydraulic disc brakes and not the V-brakes I am used to. I will have to make sure they are kept clean as these brakes are mounted on the gear and not at the top of the wheel. I have had to clean V-brakes that had been thickly caked with snow, yet I can imagine hydraulic brakes lower on the gear would get avalanched in snow or mud.

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