Monday, December 22, 2014

Breaking in a 'New' Bike (2014-12-20)

While riding in some horrible rain, I spent a lot of time in the first half adjusting the saddle of this bike until it was perfect. The rain also did a great job of breaking in this Brooks Swift.

This bike is actually used, but half of it is now either new, new old stock, or used from other sources.

Since it was pouring down rain all day, I didn't get to take too many photos. Some of the below albums represent the areas through which I've ridden, though.

This ride was a slightly longer version of a previous ride I was using to test out another bike for touring. This one worked out far better, of course.

More after the break…

Outbound

NOTE: I stopped a lot along the way during this portion to adjust the saddle position until it felt right..

I started at about 05:00 as has been the tradition and headed south along my typical route out of Seattle.

As it was pouring down rain, I had to stop very early for coffee in order to harden my resolve. I also needed some latex gloves to keep my hands from becoming too waterlogged.

I stopped a couple more times at gas stations to ask, but eventually gave up. I asked at a bakery/cafe for a place where I could find some and the waitress said a Rite Aid on the other side of I-5. I ended up finding a Safeway along the way and stopped there instead.

I still had to adjust the fit a bit after that, but finally did get it fixed. My hands were remaining dry enough in the rain, but the friction between my latex gloves and thick riding gloves made it very difficult to remove the latter.

I rode through Tacoma via Puyallup Avenue and the old US 99 route. My feet were dry enough when I got to Tacoma, but as I headed south I ended up plowing through 1-3 inches of standing water for miles. It looks like Pierce County doesn't care about drainage.

I accidentally missed my turn to start heading back home, but kept an eye out for a way to get back to my route. On the way back, my chain dropped on the inside of the chainring.

My next coffee stop was at the Starbucks across the street from the Washington State History Museum, where I drank a triple mocha and an extra espresso shot while chatting with a guy who used to ride a lot.

He talked about how he used to do stuff of the level of the STP on a tandem with his wife/girlfriend (I can't remember which) until she got a shoulder injury. He really liked the bike I was riding, too.

The rain was supposed to let up in Seattle, but I didn't see any sign of that until I got to Seattle itself. It was still raining quite a bit where I was, and would continue while I rode through the valley..

Inbound

Heading out of Tacoma, I essentially followed the reverse of my route into Tacoma.

It was still pouring down rain for miles and miles. My bike's fit held, as my knees weren't complaining at all. Shifting wasn't working so well at that point—likely due to cable stretch—but I was able to wiggle the shifters either up or down a tiny bit to make the gears stable. Most brifters can't do that!

When I got to Renton, the rain began to let up somewhat. I did stop for coffee as I needed another last boost to get home.

Due to all the coffee, I had to stop for a restroom more often than I would've liked. One stop was at the Lake Washington Loop turn-off at a convenience store. The guy there was really cool.

I then proceeded north along the normal Lake Washington Loop route to Leschi, then took the route through the Madison Valley rather than the Arboretum. My legs felt weak (very different from soreness that most people associate with strenuous exercise) as I crossed the Ship Canal to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

I saw a guy riding a randonneuring/touring bike as I entered Fremont from the west, though he stayed on the BGT while I took Northlake Way to avoid the mess around Stone Way. Our paths intersected again under the Aurora Bridge and we started to chat while I matched is more relaxed pace. He said he's done stuff like crossing the US from coast to coast, as well as more frequent riding across the mountains.

He left the BGT before I did.

Getting home was easy enough. It wasn't raining very much anymore at that point, too.

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