This Space for Rent

Ready to ramble?


The new rear wheel arrived at the LBS today (actually yesterday, but I didn’t check the phone messages until late at night) and I finally got the damned bicycle all assembled.

There was much excitment when I realized that the Xtracycle assembly instructions referred to a different version of the Free Radical than the one I actually had in hand (it chatted on about how important it was to wind various restraining straps around the body of the extension. The straps I had were not even long enough to do this, but they came with little hook thingies that attached to bosses that were not described in the instructions. After puzzling it over for a long time, I finally realized that the little pink anodized knobbies that came with the kit were intended to be screwed into the bosses, and then I could attach the hook thingies onto them and make the panniers about as tense as I was by this time of the project.

The less said about the new cantilever brakes the better. The rear brake cable drops down from where the top tube is welded to the seat tube, and until I threaded it under the old rear brake mount it was attached to the cantilever at such an acute angle so that the brake wouldn’t brake no matter what. Now it brakes. Poorly, but it brakes. A future enhancement will be to run the brake cable along the down tube and under the bottom bracket (along with the two derailer cables) and then up to the cantilever.

The resulting bicycle weighs a ton. Before I put on the Free Radical, the adapter plate that shifts the cantilever mounts from 26" to 700c positions (Clever Cycles didn’t have any 700c Free Radical kits because Xtracycle has decided that there’s no call for cheddar in these parts,) the new Delgado wheel, and the important but heavy kickstand, the Trek weighed in at ~22 pounds. It’s not quite so light now – from picking it up, I think it’s about 34 pounds right now, and I haven’t loaded up the panniers with my essential tool kit and a U-lock yet (the Trek by itself was such a quaintly old machine that I felt safe with a simple cable lock. But now that I’ve tossed another US$700 into the thing, I think I’ve made it enough more appealing to the light-fingered classes so that a cable lock would be a “yoo hoo, here I am! Come and steal me!” sign) – and it’s going to be really interesting seeing how much I’m slowed down when I take it out for my next long(ish) ramble around east Portland.

(The OOF picture is because the el-cheapo MIR-1 40mm lens I used is just a little bit out of adjustment. At least the blurriness hides the bodge I made of rewrapping the right handlebar.)