22 April 2011

It was cold

The plan had been to take the GO train out to Oshawa and cycle back to Guildwood GO station.  That gets around the wind direction -- forecast to be from the east -- and the horrible problem of the Hunt Club Hole, the section of the Toronto waterfront where there just isn't any good route to ride a bicycle.  It would also have let me check out what Lower Highland Creek looks like from a birding perspective.

This plan ran into a couple of problems.  Firstly, it was cold.  Not actually freezing cold, but 2℃ with a damp wind is cold enough.  And secondly, by the time we got to Second Marsh, Zingerella's TPB managed to develop a bad brake rub problem, later diagnosed in the warm, with a stand, as "you need to keep using the skewers the disc brakes were set up with or re-setup the brakes and brifters from zero"; switching to locking skewers seems to have squished the rear triangle in the half-millimeter required to cause the problem.  (The TPB is indeed tiny, and hasn't got a lot of clearance anywhere and certainly not in the drive train.)  Since riding a bike with the rear brake on isn't a good plan, we scrubbed the ride, went back to the Oshawa GO station, and took the train home.

On the plus side, even if it was all effectively to and from GO stations, I got in about 25km, which puts me solidly over 100km on the Experiment, and nothing untoward has occurred in the Experiment's mechanicals.  The new tiny pocket camera -- a Fujifilm F550 --  seems to actually do what I want (be small, take decent pictures rapidly), and I got a train ride out of it.

On the less plus side, legs continue extremely noodly; I need to figure out how to stash the bike securely at work, so I can get some non-weekend riding in by riding it home. Also, the Arkel bar bag isn't in an acceptable position and correspondence with a helpful person at Arkel confirms that I'm not missing something, obvious or subtle, I'm just using the wrong bars for their bar bag mount system.  Which is a pity, because I really like those bars; they're comfortable. I've got a Rivendell (or possibly Rivendell-style) Mark's Rack inbound, and now I need to find a bag to put on it.  (Suggestions are welcome!)

Starting out at Exhibition station; the bag angle issue is obvious.  That's as low as the bag can go with the  crosstop levers at a usable -- not ideal, but usable -- angle.  Which is a pity, because I really like that bag.
Leaving Oshawa after having scrubbed the ride.  Picture taken mostly to see what would happen; Fujifilm's EXR managed to get inside detail and stuff outside despite the whole dim-train-sunlit exterior, so I'm impressed.  (These are all scaled, but otherwise straight from the camera, JPEGs.  The F550 knows how to  do raw but I haven't attempted to ask it yet.)
Zoom test; the cattle (or possibly swine) car in the background in the shot above.  Also an auto-focus test, and yay!, it will ignore foreground objects when asked nicely.

Current forecast suggests Sunday might be sunny and lack 60 km/hr wind gusts, so perhaps I shall get out again and try chipping away at the noodly.


orc said...

You might be able to tweak the clickfix unit to fit onto the back of the decaleur bar on the Mark's Rack, and then continue to use your existing bag (though this is dubious,) and there are a collection of bagmakers in the United States, ranging from the Zugsters & Acorns (hideously expensive, loooooong waiting list) through the Swifts (expensive, shorter waiting list) to me (less expensive than them, not quite so polished, but a short waiting list.)

But if you can mount the clickfix to the Marks Rack that would certainly be cheaper than any of the alternatives.

Graydon said...

Arkel bar bags are not clickfix as such; it's these things, which have the advantage of being easy to use and insanely strong (though a bit fussy to set up). While I could in principle order a set and saw the slides off them and attach that to the Mark's Rack, this doesn't strike me as a plan. (Attaching aluminum to nickel-coated chromoly is almost certainly a Bad Plan.) Using the bolt holes in the back of the bag to attach Something Else isn't certainly a bad plan, but it doesn't strike me as a good plan, either, since there would be no other effective means of attachment.

I've been poking around, trying to find manufacturers of rando-style front bags in modern materials. (I've dealt with waxed cotton duck. I don't want to have to rely on it again. Paying extra to have to rely on it again is in no way attractive.) So far as I can tell, there aren't any that do all of what I know I want:

- rigid bottom, ideally rigid sides connected to rigid bottom
- top sloped or curved; map lid is nice but not necessary
- highly water resistant in general: waterproof seams, modern materials
- all the usual pockets but side pockets with volume
- non-elastic closures
- shoulder strap can be stashed in the bag without opening the bag (a feature of the Arkel bag; the front pocket has a gap behind it.)

And, doubtless, something I've forgotten; I can't get size without having the rack, so my visualization of the thing is a bit iffy.

I've been thinking of seeing if SBC case (in Saskatoon, the folks who are building the bike cases for me) do one-of at rando bag sizes, and what it might cost. (Price scales with parts count; fiddly pockets probably run the price up...) If that list is something you can tackle, though, more than happy to talk to you about it.

orc said...

I'd certainly love to try and make you a bag. Most of the things you list are things I already put into my rando bags (except for the waterproofing -- the taped seams seem to be pretty proof against leaks -- and the special pocket for a shoulder strap) so it would be no problem to build one to your specifications (and I use cordura pretty much exclusively, because it's nice and light, waterproof, and easily available in the local fabric stores.)

But for the arkel attacher thing, you could do -- if you have the components lying around -- a clever hack by attaching a second stem to the steerer tube BELOW your actual stem, then clamping a section of tube just long enough to hold the arkel attachers. If you put the second stem low enough, it would act as a decaleur (with the bulk of the weight of the bag resting on your Mark's Rack, and the attachers doing nothing more than stabilizing it. And you'll probably find that the decaleur is all you need; I have velcro tiedowns on the bottom of my rando bag, but I find myself just clipping it into the decaleur and letting it sit free on the front rack.)