|Don't let this picture fool you. April is afraid to ride this thing.|
But last week I had Oregon Bike Shop do some modifications and updates. Nothing super major, but some stuff I've either wanted to do or needed to do.
First up, new front tire. As stated in a prior post, the tire was showing signs of dry rot (which is another reason why I haven't ridden it much), so time for a new one. I wanted to put white/off-white/cream colored tires on both front and rear because I thought it would look classy and contrast the black of the frame. However, finding an appropriate white front on in the size 20" x 2.125" was a fool's errand, so I compromised and decided to go for whitewall tires. Unfortunately the shop couldn't get any whitewall in that size either, so I gave up and just got a plain black one for the front.
Oh yeah, Jim trued the front wheel.
Onto things that actually worked out...
I got a new front chainring! I decided to go for a smaller one so it would lower the gearing. The original ring had 44 teeth, now the new one has 36 teeth. I've noticed that it is indeed easier to pedal. I was hoping that it would switch the "main" gear (the gear you would pedal on flat ground) from 2 to 3, giving me an option of two lower gears. But it seems to be more in the middle of 2 and 3, while not perfect, is a lot better than before. Going up hills has gotten easier. But it's still a bear of a bike, no matter what!
The other addition is a new rear light. I decided against dyno lighting for this bike *so I'm looking at good battery powered options. Still toying with the front end, but for the rear I got a new Portland Design Works Fenderbot light. It's a cousin (not brother/sister) to their popular Radbot lights. It mounts directly to the fender (dur!) with no quick-release, so it is theft-resistant.** It has a solid and blinky mode. As for the light itself, it's good, though it lacks the throb-strobe option of the Radbot and is not as bright. (See, cousin! Not brother or sister.)
The only other major thing that needs to be done is a front drum brake wheel. That's not going to happen any time soon. But someday...
*To bore you with details, the funky front end doesn't allow for a bottle dynamo and I don't know if it would work for the rear. Theoretically I could build a new front wheel with a dynohub/drum brake combo that Sturmey-Archer makes, but the front hub and wheel are super-beefy (almost like a motorcycle wheel), so I don't know if the S-A hub would handle it. Plus, I don't want to sink the money into it.
**Nothing is truly theft-proof, though it would be difficult for a thief to remove the light.