Tuesday, November 10, 2015

possibly the very last "tried & liked" list ever

The "Tried & Liked" list originated with the iBOB crowd -- that group of mostly-male, mostly older enthusiasts of All Things Bridgestone Bicycle -- a number of years back. iBOBs would share their lists of things they tried and liked or didn't like with each other.

I joined in the fun for several years.

This year, I realized that there wasn't a whole lot left for me to try and report back on, because this whole listmaking seemed to depand on buying new things every so often. And since leaving the bicycle industry three years ago, I'm just not buying as many new things as I used to.

So here is my list of everything bikey I tried this year. I suspect that it may be the last such list I post, since I am buying less and less; so enjoy.

1. Tried and didn't like:

-- approaching the Tilikum Crossing bridge from the west side of Portland during rush hour. Because, really, all the funky turns and crossings getting from Moody onto the bridge are a cluster. A well-marked cluster, but a cluster nonetheless. It's fine on a Sunday morning, I suppose; but I'll avoid it during rush hour.

-- The rising price of "decent" ran gear that is made in China. Come on, people; I've made my USA-made Burley rain jacket last for twenty years with careful upkeep, mending and occasional washings in Nikwax to re-proof the fabric. I look at Chinese-made raingear today that doesn't last more than three seasons and is as expensive now (taking inflation into account) as Burley was then.
Not worth it.

2. Tried and liked:

-- installing flat pedals on every bike I own. All three of my bicycles now have flat pedals. So far, I like the grippiness of the VP pedals I got from Rivendell; but the raised lump in the middle is a little uncomfortable on longer rides. For all-around comfort I like the Redline platform pedals I've installed on the other two bikes; but they are heavier by far than the VP's.

-- installing WALD 8095 upright "Touring" bars as an alternative to the North Road uprights. The B'stone has the Walds, the Riv has the North Roads. I like the difference between the two bars; but if I had to live with only one bike I'd be fine with the much more affordable Walds. If you want to get super-geeky about it and see photos, here's a discussion -- a discussion! -- about the various upright bars and their virtues.

-- Coffeeneuring. I took a break from participating in this event last year due to health issues that kept me off my bike more regularly during the fall and winter. This year, I felt better and resumed my coffeeneuring adventures. The point is to ride your bicycle, drink coffee, and enjoy yourself. That's a concept I can get behind. Although the "official" event is seven weeks long and ends this Sunday, I may continue the adventure through the winter by seeking out new places to enjoy coffee by bicycle.

-- Paring down my bicycle holdings and buying far less stuff. Because the fact is that I just don't need as much bicycle stuff as I used to, or as used to think I needed. I'm down to three bikes and a trailer and may well go down to two bikes and a trailer by spring. I once dreamed of bike-camping long distances but the reality is that this is less and less likely as I get older, so out go most of the panniers and stuff. The boxes of parts are slowly being sold off, bringing in much-needed cash and space; and I am enjoying living a bicycle life where I don't think about what I'll wear or who I might hope to impress. I just don't care anymore. I just want to ride my bicycle around town and enjoy my city, and I don't need a ton of accessories to do that other than a bicycle, lights, rain gear and a very good lock.

-- getting rid of the cyclometer. This one was hard. It took a couple of years to finally convince myself it was a good idea. I had kept track of my mileage for a decade before finally chucking the cyclometer this summer. It has made all the difference in how much more I enjoy riding, and reminded me that riding a bicycle is about riding a bicycle, not about consuming miles -- or things.

Happy riding!

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