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Saturday, November 20, 2010


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If I say "Revolution" something comes to your mind.
If like me you have southern roots, you might immediately think along the lines of a political movement or restructuring such as the French Revolution, the 13 Colonies and the Revolutionary War, or more to the point - the Revolutionary action of the Confederacy in response to the oppressions of the northern states.
Or if you happen to be less historically and politically minded and more scientifically so, you may launch immediately into thoughts of celestial bodies in perpetual motion on a timeless journey around a more or less tangible axis.

While both of the above concepts are key to my existence in this particular environment, society, and frankly, life in general - a microcosm of revolution has been in play over nearly a year for this cyclist. This far less grandiose turn of events comprises both concepts - the radical divergence from a previous course, and the rhythmic systematic rotation of elements around an axis.

What have I done?

Long story short...
About 15 years ago I spent just over $800 on a brand new purple and white Bridgestone RB2 road bike with clipless pedals and white handle bar tape. I installed a second water bottle cage, yellow handlebar tape, and a computer and rode the bike for several years over a thousand miles. Then for nearly 10 years during college, newly married life, and the birth of our first daughter the bike sat idle, though dry and pampered. I began to feel the need to exercise regularly and started running, whereupon I quickly gained stamina and an array of pulled muscles. To maintain my cardiovascular progress and ease the pain, I transitioned over to my long neglected friend.

I gained endurance and strength rapidly and was addicted even faster. 3 years passed as I rode a classic road bike, which drew accolades on nearly every ride. But I longed for something more contemporary and efficient. Alas a second daughter and the budget in general made that impossible.

I crashed on New Years Day 2010. My Bridgestone was unrideable, but within days, a friend put his second bike up for sale at a price I couldn't pass up. I had my new ride. But I also still had an old friend with great potential, battered though she was.

A revolution began.

The crash bent the front brakes and tweaked the fork and rear triangles. The first act was to get the bike capable of any reliable wheel revolutions at all. With help from my dad and a vice and some tentative twisting , I accomplished this task. Amazingly the wheels were still true and now spun like a dream.

Upon purchasing the Bridgestone I was a "hard core" roadie. I fancied myself a racer, and hoped to be mistaken for a professional.

This was not likely to have happened. What also was not likely, was any consideration along the lines of the conceptual revolution now occurring in this bike. At a time when I was opposed to even installing a saddle bag on the bike, I would have certainly been opposed to obnoxiously large 700 x 28 tires, lights, reversible platform / SPD pedals, and for goodness sake certainly not a rear fender.

Well that's exactly what happened, plus the addition of the "hipper than Santa Cruz" triathlon aero bars and "Tri" brake levers, new saddle, and reinstallation of the yellow bar tape. The best part is that the whole transformation cost me less than $75 out of pocket. This setup definitely gives a nod to the whole Santa Cruz / Berkeley "fixie" revolution taking place on college campuses. I couldn't bring myself to replace the 7 speed shimano cassette for a fixed gear though.

The fender is home made, so we'll see how long it lasts. The bracket is from a broken and abandoned headlamp, and the aluminum is formed from a street sign my company replaced. Seems quite sturdy, though time will tell.

I now have a commute bike which will bridge the gap between my road bike and mountain bike on more utilitarian rides. I suspect I even see another saddle bag in my near future.

Special thanks to Kipp for the gear and guidance.