31 March 2008

there's hope.

BIG picture of little flowers, because that's all we've got, people. I could post some of my extreme snow pics from January for the purpose of comparing and contrasting, but I am still traumatized.

It was right cold this morning, so I drove to work, but rode my bike back from lunch, and then home from work. Ride home from work was brisk and invigorating--without the pedal assist, it would have been just miserable and cold.

Also, I am a good sport--guy passed me going up Swimming Pool Hill, and I had the pedal assist switched on. I rationalized that he is at least 6 inches taller than I am, and this probably wasn't his second ride of the season. And he commented on my bike as he passed, and I've seen him around enough to guess that his "nice bike" was sincere.

And, hallelujah, Schrader valves. I must have some defective programming, because I can't fill a tube with a Presta valve to save my life. Plus, it's handy to be able to fill at a gas station, and the compressors are only compatible with the Schraders. This is a serious, stupid issue, so much so that I had the rims of my Bianchi drilled out so I could change the tubes. No need for drastic measures this time.

30 March 2008


I just bought these on eBay, to make the kind of errand-running I'm likely to do easier. I have a rear seat post rack on my Bianchi, and managed to carry a lot of stuff just by lashing it to the rack with a cargo net, but I think the grocery bag panniers will be handy.

*Cough cough sputter cough* on the shipping cost, but my maximum bid was set to approximate the original retail cost, with free shipping. Even though the bags are well-reviewed almost every place I could dig up, they are no longer available, so my bidding strategy seemed reasonable.

Now I just need to come up with a set up for transporting my morning caffeine.

picture this

This is my ride. Front and rear wheel have fenders, the shifters are twist grip (which took some getting used to), and the battery is stored under the rear rack. I'll post photos of some of the components later, but I've already done today's stint as the neighborhood freak, taking pics of my bike in the front yard.

One thing to note is that it has a 17" frame, which is the only size currently available. It's great for me, but I have the seat post extended to about 3/4 of its maximum height, and I'm only 5'9" with a relatively short inseam. In other words, this bike probably wouldn't work for tall folk.

This afternoon, I ran to the hardware store and back, which is a round trip of about six miles. Coming home is the same route as if I were returning from work, so I got to test the pedal assist against the wind and the up. It's not a free ride, by any stretch, but I switched between on and off to gauge the difference, and there was a definite (and helpful) boost. In particular, there is a bear of a hill going up to my house, and on my regular pedal bike, I usually end up walking up the last third, even if I stand up. Today, I still had to put it in granny gear, but I made it to the top, and stayed seated.


I was reading this comment thread.

Obviously, it does no good to post to a comment thread that's a couple of years old, but for me, I'll just point out the following:

1) I can ride a bike, and am perfectly willing to do so. I rode my Bianchi almost every day from April or May until October last year, i.e. until it got too slippery and dark to do so safely. (I have to be at work by 7:15 am.)

2) I don't see having the pedal assist available as having a way to "avoid" anything. I'm not a desk jockey, and am on my feet for 9+ hours at work. I carried mail yesterday, and the pedometer I wore said I walked 7 miles. I can almost always ride TO work, but the thought of getting back home, which is uphill, and often against a 15-30 mph headwind can be daunting, to say the least.

3) Options that get us out of our cars are *always* good.

29 March 2008

new ride

After almost a year of waiting*, I bought my 2008 Schwinn Campus Electric on Thursday from John at Roslyn Cyclery. After that much anticipation, taking it for a spin was like going on a strange, awkward blind date. (A nice, strange, awkward blind date, but still.) First ride was home (to get my helmet), and back to the shop.

Unlike the photo on Schwinn's site, the bike is not black. It's a nice, sparkly rootbeer brown, and the integrated rack and battery pack are silver, not black. Due to the fact that it's STILL SNOWING here, I haven't had a proper ride yet. Tomorrow, maybe.

(*We weren't able to get a 2007 when they came on the market last year. We ordered one for shipment in October, but they were delayed due to manufacturing issues with the throttle/pedal-assist mode. I may have the particulars wrong, but the bikes had to be reconfigured for the US market. In Europe (and elsewhere, I suppose), there is a throttle that allows for electric-only riding. Here, if you don't pedal, you don't go, and if you go above 15-17 mph, the motor cuts out.)

Photos to come. John says he thinks mine is the first in Washington State. :)