Getting Back To Your Roots

    I’m not one to get excited over lube (OH GROW UP), but awhile back Dumone Tech sent me a box of the stuff, and I have to say it’s quite good. While admittedly there’s still a bunch of stuff I haven’t tried yet (I rarely wash my bikes so anything intended for cleaning is going to sit around untouched for awhile), I’ve found the chain lube to be quite effective and long-lasting. I’ve also really begun to appreciate this stuff:

    Granted, the name’s pretty silly, since “Liquid Grease” is what oil is…though maybe it’s supposed to be ironic for those in the know, I don’t know, I’m not a Lube Fred. Regardless, when working on bikes you often have need for stuff that’s heavier than oil but lighter than grease, and this has a nice mucal consistency that seems able to provide lasting lubrication without gumming things up. Also, as a lazy person who would rather apply lubricant as an ointment rather than take everything apart, it does in fact seem to penetrate effectively–I drizzled some on some cheap cartridge bearing hubs not too long ago and it got them turning smoothly. I even used it this past weekend to free up the hood latch on my car, which wasn’t catching after I installed that nitrous oxide system I was pedaling around with the other day:

    Though to be fair the Liquid Wrench also might have done some of the heavy lifting there.

    Either way, yes, you can usually find good lubes cheap at the hardware store (I’ve been on the same tub of marine grease for at least 10 years), but if you’re the gourmet type and like fancy proprietary stuff in tiny bottles the Dumonde stuff is pretty nice.

    Also, while I’m heaping praise on stuff, on Saturday I rode the Vengeance Bike for the first time in, I dunno, a couple weeks…?

    I recently fell in love with my Litespeed all over again so was all ready to throw this thing under the bus–or at least send it back to Classic Cycle. But every time I get on the damn thing it wins me back, despite its many quirks (which now include an indexed headset). If I had unlimited funds I’d hire a team of scientists to break it down and produce a report on why I like it so much, because it makes no logical sense to me. For this reason, the Vengeance Bike has probably taught me the most important lesson of any bike I’ve ridden, and it is this:

    Dismiss nothing out of hand, and give everything a chance.

    I mean sure, I’m not actually living my life by this lesson–for example I’ll still dismiss pretty much every crabon bicycle currently being built without so much as looking at them in person–but it’s a nice idea an, and that’s what counts.

    Meanwhile, I’ve spent more time on the Homer with drop bars, and I can now safely say they’ve fully unlocked the bike’s potential:

    Though I did manage to fall of of it:

    The culprit was this root:

    Which launched my rear wheel and sent my Brooks saddle into my perineum with the force of a leather jackhammer:

    This in turn launched me an impressive distance:

    Despite my aching taint I stood there for awhile admiring what I’d accomplished:

    Then I surveyed the damage, which was limited to a little bar tape tearing:

    Despite taking a direct hit, the shifter still operated smoothly:

    And all I really had to do was re-center my bars a few millimeters and brush the dead leaves off my dignity.

    This was not the first time I’ve been undone by this seemingly innocuous stretch of trail. Several years ago, very close to this same spot, a stick got lodged in my fender, which catapulted me head-over-heels and resulted in a broken thumb. A few miles from here I was also felled by an Osage orange, though I sustained no injuries. I passed that very spot after my latest fall, and found said orbs neatly stacked and well out of harm’s way:

    I’m convinced this compulsive Osage orange-stacking can only have a supernatural explanation:

    But where was this phantom stacker when I actually needed him/her/it?

    Finally, this may be the least inviting park entrance in New York City:

    Hidden behind a building in Yonkers and hard up against the city line, this tiny gap in a fence grants you entrance to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, and is very possibly narrower than the NO BICYCLING sign that adorns it.

    Not that I encourage such behavior, but if you see a NO BICYCLING sign near a trail, it probably offers pretty good bicycling.

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