Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Feeling Blue

Since my Bike Friday is in for repairs, I've begun to overhaul and put some miles on my old Specialized. Two years in the basement on the trainer—and not much maintenance before that—have left it in a fairly bad state. But over an hour of washing (with Kathi's help), and a few more (lighter) rounds of that since, have made it ship-shape. While I immediately notice my dislike of the sub-105 Shimano parts, and miss my 50T chainring (I'm back to mashing a bit in my 53T), overall I've been putting on some miles quite comfortably.

One problem with reviving a bike that's been in a basement too long, though, is that you don't know what really works and what doesn't. Last Friday, after a 25 mile ride, I was making the last turn before home when I went down comprehensively. I suffered very little external injury, so initially I was more confused than anything else. (A construction worker nearby asked whether I was okay and, when I replied in the affirmative, he responded, “That was spectacular!” It was immediately clear that he's never seen a real bike crash.) While taking inventory, I noticed that my front tire was...half-flat. So I'd had a very, very slow leak that had gotten progressively flatter as I bumped around town, and on that final hard right turn the tire just buckled.

It turns out that I'm actually quite bruised in various places inside. My friend Laurie Heller recalled that she'd had a similar experience: some of her worst injuries were from her slowest crashes. Due to various internally bruised parts, I can now primarily only ride in the drops. At the very least, I feel quite silly plodding along to school in the morning in that position.

One casualty of my fall was my bar-tape, which was anyway beginning to unravel. Four years ago the bike began with a Specialized Phat Wrap, which is surprisingly comfortable. Two years ago (after another fall) I switched to yellow Cinelli cork: less padded, but a lovely feel. Today I got a Deda Elementi blue wrap. This officially proves that my biking color is blue: blue glasses frame, blue shoes, blue gloves, and now blue wrap. I've realized the reason is because I don't like green, there's too much macho red on the roads already, and yellow is pretentious (or can appear that way).

The Deda tape is a thing of beauty:

(The actual tape is darker than the photo suggests.) Those little dents are just the edges of the logo, which is under wraps. The attention to detail is fantastic: the sticky strip is just broad enough, the color is sublime, it feels like it isn't there, and the package includes both tape for the end and a little supplement to wrap around the back of the hoods.

Once I was done wrapping, I proceeded to install the end plugs. I was about to just shove one in when I noticed it has the Deda ‘D’ logo on it. I stopped, rotated the plug a quarter turn to orient it properly, and only then pushed. That's what beautiful design inspires you to do.

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