Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bustin' Out

Being cooped up during a statewide shutdown can make a person go a little stir crazy. Luckily, we are still allowed to get out and exercise - particularly if we can do it while still maintaining some distance. A solo bike ride is a perfect way to do that, isn't it?

I've recently heard that in some other countries battling terrible COVID-19 outbreaks, officials have even banned cycling. This surprises me a little, since a person can go for a pretty solid bike ride without interacting with anyone else, especially if they get outside of a city, so it seems to me the risk of spreading the virus is awfully low (and I do take that risk seriously). Interestingly enough, here in Ohio, not only is bike riding permitted, but bicycle shops are still open even as many other businesses have been ordered closed. Apparently bike shops have been deemed "essential businesses."

We're experiencing some awfully nice weather today. Yesterday started out rainy but eventually warmed up and the sun came out by the end of the day. Today continued that trend and we had brilliant sunny skies and the temperature got up to about 60. A perfect spring day - and a perfect day for a bike ride.

Stopped for a picture by a hidden stone wall in the park.
I got out for a nice ride into the national park on the recently finished Sequoia. I have to say I am really pleased with the way that bike turned out. Everything on it seems totally "dialed in" to make for a fast but comfortable ride. After my initial "shake out" ride, but before wrapping the bars, I ended up swapping the stem. I had started with a 9cm stem, but by the time I'd gotten home from that initial ride, I had decided that just a bit more reach was called for. It just so happened that I had a perfect 10cm stem in my stash of parts and so I swapped them. Having been out on a couple rides since then, I can say it was the right choice and a proper improvement in fit.

In the valley, I did see a number of other people out, walking dogs, or jogging, and a few others riding, but on the whole things were pretty quiet. Not Dawn of the Dead quiet, but subdued. Car traffic, particularly, was light. I rode along one of the two main valley roads that parallels the Cuyahoga River, looped around some backroads and one abandoned road that isn't much more than gravel these days. There is a bridge out on the main valley road, and so to bypass the closure, I also had a short hop on the canal towpath which luckily wasn't a soupy mess today. The bike handled it all nicely, though not as "cushily" as the 650B project (there's a big difference in tire volume going from 32 to 37mm!). But it is a very capable multi-surface bike, and everything I was hoping it would be.

I was really glad to be able to get off the couch for a while (which has a very distinct butt-shaped impression in it these days) and enjoy a perfect spring day.

Wherever you are, I hope you're staying healthy and staying sane.


  1. I've been following and enjoying your build posts. Glad to hear you're enjoying the ride of your Sequoia; it looks great! I realize it's just my preferences, but the Sequoia looks too bare without a rack. I think a front rack would complete the picture even though a rear rack would probably be more era appropriate. Then you'd have a gradation once you get the Allez: full racks, Expedition; front rack (or rear) Sequoia; no racks, Allez.

    How do you like the Sanyo generator? I've been thinking about getting one for my '89 Schwinn Voyageur which, I believe, competes with your Expedition for being one of the top touring frames built by large manufacturers.

    We're staying pretty well here in St. Paul, MN & I agree, solo rides are great for maintaining sanity in these times. I teach middle school, so from one teacher to another - keep it up!

  2. Bike shops here in Illinois are also considered essential.

  3. About the Sanyo generator and the halogen headlight: Folks might consider getting a Nicelite replacement LED bulb from Reflectalite in Britain. I've used one of these just a little in a generator powered headlight - in my case, a Basta Ellipsoid. The focus is not as precise as with the original halogen bulb, but it's not bad, and the light output is much greater. You can find them starting at Ebay, or at I have two more on order, one of which is to be used in a NOS Sturmey-Archer headlamp powered by a NOS S-A Dynohub. That's on my around-town 3 speed.

  4. Cool bike - you do nice work. And thanks for updating your blog - a nice diversion.

    Bike shops are 'essential' here in New York State as well....makes sense to me.

    I hear ya re: the nice ride that a large tire provides - you notice when going back to narrower. I've been riding 2.3" file tread tires on a modern drop-bar adventure bike (Specialized AWOL) this winter when the roads were clear.

    I broke out the mid-80's Trek 650b conversion bike yesterday - with 38mm Gravel Kings on it - definitely noticed the road vibration more - to be expected. Part of it is also that the Trek is a sport/tour geometry which is more aggressive than the other bike. With the Trek I'm sitting on top of the bike and with the AWOL I feel like I'm sitting behind the cockpit with more bike in front of me - more comfy position.

    But the Trek is a fun diversion - different riding style with DT shifters.

    We all have to remember that spring is coming and the current situation won't last forever!

    Ride on!