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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Notes: Talking about the Weather, Pedals, and the Raving Bike Fiend is Back!

Hello friends! I've been a bit quiet on Ye Olde Blog this week, my apologies. I've been working on something special, and you'll be seeing the fruits of my labor* relatively soon.

December has been a dry and somewhat cold month in Portland. The temperature has consistently dropped to near or below freezing each night, which while not uncommon, doesn't happen often. I guess you can say we've had a cold snap. Usually when it gets that cold here, we have bright, cloudless days and a stiff easterly wind. But the wind did not come, so with poor air circulation and the nightly temperature drop we had many mornings-into-afternoons of fog. And since it was near or at freezing, sometimes there was a bit of frost or black ice on the roads, making for some sketchy riding situations. Thankfully I didn't slide in any of my travels, but since I'm still a bit paranoid of falling since "The Accident" in November, I've been worrying about the ice. So much so that I almost went to the Santa Lucia edition of Breakfast on the Bridges on Tuesday, but when I departed from the house I got freaked out about all the frost on the roads. So I baled.

Now the temperatures have risen slightly and the rain has returned, at least on Wednesday, so we'll be back to more typical Portland winter weather.


And with the wetness returning, pedals on the Raleigh Wayfarer were on my mind. The Wayfarer originally came with small rubber block pedals, and I replaced them with period-appropriate "rat traps". The pedals work fine, but the catch is...the catch. The pedals only have grippy stuff on one side.

Now these pedals are designed to stay "grippy side up". From my experience this happens nine times out of ten, but the tenth time the non-grippy side will be up. If one is not paying attention and stomps on the pedal when it's grippy side down and its wet, one's foot may slip off the pedal. This is not good, especially if one is in traffic. Now normally I would look down and make sure that the grippy side is up before I push on it. But when I wear the rain cape it blocks my view of the pedal, and if I'm wearing the rain cape it's raining enough that if I stomped on the non-grippy side it could spell disaster.

So I installed my grippy pedals on the Wayfarer. These are technically designed for BMX use, when one would be wearing sneakers instead of SPD's. They don't look super-ugly, but they definitely are not designed for looks. Since I've become a "fancy cyclist" I care a bit about aesthetics, so I ask you: do these pedals look out-of-place on a British three-speed?

And does anyone have good recommendations for griptastic pedals that look good? (I'm thinking about the MKS Lambda pedals they sell at Rivendell and Velo-Orange, but these pedals are not cheap.) 


And the winter brings the annual appearance of Mr. Raving Bike Fiend! Keith got in Tuesday morning. He'll be in town for a month. Oh, the bike projects we have in mind for him! (And when I say "we" I mean everyone in my house, which is four people.) Besides some minor stuff on my three working bikes, I can think of a special project I can put Mr. Raving Bike Fiend to work on:


And finally, my awesome sale is now extended into the new year! You have until 11:59PM (PST) on Tuesday January 3, 2012 to get discounted prices! Head on over to the store to see what's up.

*Or, if you must, labour.


  1. I have a stack of rubber block pedals I salvaged from a pile of old 3-speeds and other bikes. I have the rubber block on one side of my winter beater, which has come in handy as I get used to the one pedal always being in the down position when I get on (due to the rubber block pedal being heavier than the opposing plastic one)...

    Yes, I know. A bicycle hack that would make a fancy cyclist cringe. But when the bike is covered in road salt and brownsnow, I don’t think anyone notices.

    So I'm guessing you don't want my opinion on pedals in terms of style. :-)

  2. Hello! Thanks for including me in your blogroll, I just returned the favor, great site, great bikes, great outlook!

  3. Hooray for the return to water in its liquid state! I had a couple of scary moments early this week and my sweetie went down on a patch of black ice last week. Scary. Fog freezing on the handlebars and making tiny sculptures, though, that was awesome.

  4. Mr. Voyageur--I always appreciate your opinions, style or not. Your zipper-fix trick still works!

    Stuart--You are welcome!

    Amanda--Yeah, thankfully we'll get out of black ice territory soon!

    Annndd...saw a pair of the MKS pedals on Craigslist. I might get them!

  5. I find BMX pedals work very well on a British three speed.


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