Not too many people left who still ride road bikes, especially in these parts. I was in a bicycle store the other day because I finally gave up on finding a set of tires and wheels that I liked that all matched in my pile-o-spare-parts and when I asked about the dearth of road bikes and parts, he'd said that in Colorado the previous year, road bikes had accounted for less than two percent of bike sales.
Because everybody else is getting rid of their road bikes and buying up new mountain bikes, I can get all the road bikes I can possibly want for typically $10-$25 at garage sales. The one thing I haven't been able to find is one with another frame of a reasonable size: the FrankenBike has the only 27" frame I've ever seen for sale and I gladly forked over the twenty bucks shown on the garage sale sticker. I'm not sure how many tens of thousands of miles I've put on this bike so far; it's a lot, though. Some of the things that I find helpful when doing lots of long bike rides I describe on the Underwear, scotch tape, and "Lite Salt" page.
Over the years, I've had to replace just about everything else on it, starting with putting an extra-long seatpost which I need on even a 27" frame, and most recently I had picked up a couple of loose Mavic and Campy parts at a few garage sales for a couple of bucks apiece, so I thought I'd go through and start putting some of those on. Most of the time I just buy whole bikes when they have parts that I want--it's cheaper that way--and since people tend to buy bikes and then just store them in the garage until they eventually decide to sell them at a garage sale, they often won't have much wear on them at all.
One thing I did buy new and am happy about was a set of alloy rear derailleur pulleys with bearings rather than sleeves. I've had a couple of rear derailleurs wear out on me since then, but I move the pulleys onto the replacement derailleur since they really do feel a lot better to me than the usual plastic-wheel-around-a-sleeve type that most such beasties come with.
Right now (September 1998) I'm usually doing 40-100 miles in a day. I've done more than a thousand miles a week for weeks at a time before, but after a while that kind of riding gets incompatible with having much of a life otherwise. It's something I like quite a bit; a long bike ride is a great meditative, focusing experience and I find that it does a lot to help clear and settle my thoughts and that when I'm biking a lot, I tend to sleep less and the various aches and pains and stuff that I might collect when I'm not being very active in biking tend to go away.
One of the more recent experiments was trying out the Brooks leather saddle that several people had spoken highly of. We'll just have to wait and see if I end up speaking all that highly of it myself after I've had more time to get used to it. I have gotten very fond of the aero bars, not so much because I like the position better per se, but because it gives me another position to ride in and, perhaps most importantly, one where my hands are in a very different position so that they don't ever start to feel numb after a few hours like they sometimes used to before I stuck on the aero bars.
I wonder if they make transparent bicycle helmets. One of side effects of bicycling is that my hair is definitely blonder where it's not under my helmet; I don't mind being a bit lighter, but having the outline of the helmet displayed in my hair might not be the best fashion statement these days. Or maybe it'll be in style in another five or ten years and I'm just ahead of my time. At least that makes a good excuse....
...ten years pass
Wow, has it really been ten years since I wrote that? [checks calendar] Yep. Ended up buying a new bike, though I couldn't find one locally that had a frame size as large as I'd prefer, so it's a little small. So, I'll probably be on the lookout for a new frame one of these days, but I'm extremely fond of the carbon fibre "trispoke" wheelset. It's actually heavier than conventional alloy wheels, and whether it's more aerodynamic I can't say (I'm sure they are far more aerodynamic than I am), but I can ride them for years and they never get out of true, which seals the deal for me.
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