The Old Bike’s new life

For two months and more, my poor old hybrid has been abandoned. Is this what she deserves after ten faithful years, carrying me for hundreds of miles, up hill and down?

For days lugging panniers full of gear and trail mix around island coastlines? Through new cities, through canyons, along rivers?


For day after day, hauling baby trailer with baby, then toddler? Plus groceries and jugs of milk. Piles of books. Boxes of apples. Stacks of manila folders.  And when the trailer was retired, tugging the Tagalong to kindergarten then 1st grade, 2nd, panniers bulging with backpacks, teaching materials, art supplies, picnics, a wooden salad bowl and salad in a plastic ziploc, more groceries?

But lately poor Lady Bluemoon is blue indeed, languishing in the dark garage.  Though better days are coming.  Warm weather and the season of long rides approaches.  Lady Blue is about to be reborn.

She will never be the silvery upright ride the Oma is, but suddenly now that the hybrid is the Old Bike and no longer just my old reliable, it feels like I can play around with her a little more.  And after riding the Oma I know better what I need to make the ride on the hybrid a better ride.  Plus I want to see what can be done with any old bike to make the ride more fun, more easy and still affordable.

One of the things I’ve always liked about my hybrid  is her adjustable headstem – years past I ratcheted it up to the most upright position, trying to get a little more height on the handlebars.  I used to ride around propped up on my fingertips for miles because I just am not comfortable hunched down over the handlebars – and I want to SEE.

I find I love my upright ride on the Oma.  I love the visibility and general comfort of the handlebar position.  But I’ve had to adjust to the sudden loss of leverage I used to get from gripping the handlebars and bending low when climbing hills.  Also when climbing I feel a little less sure of my steering control while on the Oma.

To tweak Lady Blue a little closer to perfection, we’ve been playing around with different handlebars to achieve a ride that’s a little more upright (i.e. more comfortable for the long flat miles for the way I ride) but that still allows some leverage on the hills.
Most recently we’re trying a no-name swept-back style that looks kind of like the Nitto Albatross.  I still have to try it on the hills.

There are more changes in store.  Grips will be next as my old ones have worn themselves away.  And a new seat post.  The suspension seat post I bought with my hybrid has gotten looser and looser over the years.  I haven’t liked the widening wobble that makes it harder to do the whole-body steer.  Plus, it creaks  – not the most encouraging sound-effects when working one’s way up hill.

After these basics, the real fun begins.  First, fenders – of which there are choices now beyond black, white, and neon yellow.  Hammered metal is catching my eye lately – they’re so shiny.  (I know, this reveals way too much about the depth of my analysis).  And I noticed yesterday that a nearby bike shop has Electra hammered metal fenders that are about half the price of the beautiful Honjo fenders.

Then a chain guard – if such a thing is possible aftermarket for a bike with a front derailleur and a triple crankset.  I love the floral Poka guard I saw first on Lovely Bicycle!  And then I saw the alphabetic guard also by Poka.

from sleepyneko

But it doesn’t look like this would fit with a front derailleur.  I’m not so in love with the looks of the only two-part chain guard I’ve found so far – designed to work with a triple crankset – and besides, not even available for purchase.

Is this another reason to take a metals class this summer and learn how to make my own?


3 thoughts on “The Old Bike’s new life

  1. Ooooo, I love the alphabetic guard. Can you modify it slightly to make it work for your bike? It would be the perfect thing for you, in my opinion. I think it’s amazing all the creative options they have for bikety people and their conveyances!

  2. It looks to me like a chain guard added after the fact for a bike with multiple gear wheels (mine has a triple crankset) has to be in two parts. Or stick out much further from the bike’s frame. I’ll have to sit down and talk with a metal-working in-law of mine and see what’s in the range of possibility.

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