Monday, April 02, 2007

New Place to Work

The company for whom I work, just moved locations. They were polite enough to tell me the new address. I tried to ride there on Sunday and it was a disaster.

I got lost in NE Minneapolis. The streets are crazy up there. In my part of Minneapolis, the avenues go north-south and the streets go east-west. In NE Minneapolis, the avenues go all directions. This sort of thing is an example of what threw me off.

I'm usually very good at meandering around on my bike and finding where I want to go. That didn't work yesterday. I was so lost, I started riding around to find a horizon that showed me the skyline of downtown. The clouds were low, but I found downtown and meandered my way back there and rode home. It took 2 1/2 hours and I only got close to my new workplace. My feet were very cold when I arrived home. My wife even began to worry, she said.

Today, I consulted a map, a little more thoroughly, and found a good looking route. I used it to get to work in my car. That's pathetic, yes.

Tomorrow, I'll roll right in with my cue sheet in hand. If I'm lucky the forecast for snow will come true.

On a related note, I installed new brakes one week ago. I rode them 6 days, mostly in the rain and the brake pads are worn out. Yesterday, they became ineffective even with all the slack taken out of the cables. When I arrived home, I inspected them closely and found they looked like someone pressed them against a belt sander. They were Shimano M pads that have a terrible reputation. I replaced them with Serfas pads. I hope they last a little longer. Brake pads are about $12 a pair and I don't want to replace them as often as I have been lately. The grit of wet conditions really eats them up.

Has anyone commuted with disk brakes enough to tell me if they are an improvement? I realize that installing disk brakes requires a new bike. But that never stopped me before.

"The purty tires don't look so nice now, do they boy?"
As you can see, the bike needs a bath. With wet conditions forecast all week, I'll wait until a sunny day arrives. That'll be soon enough.


Jeff Moser said...

My hometown "twin cities", Gardnerville and Minden have a total of 4 stoplights combined. If you get lost in my town, you're probably in the advanced stages of dementia.

I'm not sure if they'd be compatible with your bike, but the Kool Stop MTB or BMX pads (dual compound black and orange) seem to hold up really well in the wet/sand/mud. Maybe they make a similar road pad...

Anonymous said...

If you want to use rim brakes in the gritty wet, the Kool Stop Salmon colored compound is what you need. This goes for any rim brake; canti, linear, or caliper. The salmon compound is Kool Stop's version of the original Matthauser compound, and will not only wear and stop better in the wet than anything else, it is less prone to tear up your rim sidewall (it still happens, just not as much). This, of course is the main advantage of discs - no rim wear. You will still go through pads in wet weather, though not as fast as with rim brakes. They're OK, and they will stop the bike. If you feel like building another bike to try them out, it could be a fun project. Until then, get some salmon pads (yes, they make them for all types of brakes), and keep those purty tires rolling. Val

Jim Thill said...

I noticed that Kool-Stop makes pads in all sorts of colors. Salmon and black are most common, but they also have blue, red, and about 4 others I can't recall. I have even seen some Kool-Stop pads that are half black and half salmon, presumably to provide the best attributes of each rubber compound. Unfortunately, I have never seen a definitive explanation of the differences between the different colored rubber compounds. At the Frostbike event this year, I asked the Kool-Stop rep what situations warranted salmon pads, and which were better for black pads, etc. He made it sound as if the different colors were merely cosmetic. But then he indicated that in the wet climate where he lives, he recommends the salmon color, but the black is good, too. It still wasn't clear to me.

Doug said...

I use the salmon colored ones on both my commuter bikes. One set gets me through an entire winter. And I ride everyday. I would highly recommend them.

Matt_J said...

I commute every day using coaster brakes. There's a hand brake on the front wheel but I haven't needed to change the pads for years. Why don't you mount one of those shiny Sturmey Archer hubs?

Snakebite said...

Perhaps, to get your bike clean, you could just send it in the shower with Yoda.

KM said...

People rightly complain about how confusing it can be getting around St Paul. But I think NE Minneapolis has it beat.

Eclectchick said...

NE sure can get confusing. Sometimes I try to cut through certain areas, i.e., to get to The Heights Theater. I end up somewhere are kittywampus to where I thought I was going.

I, um, vacuumed my bike the other day. Worked darn good at getting the majority of sand and dirt off of her.

rigtenzin said...

Kool stops for me. I'll spend the extra dough on them next time.

Yoda refused to shower with me AND the bike. He told me to pick one or the other.

Vacuum a bike. That's very inventive. I suppose my shop vac would do the job.

I'm getting the commute through NE Minneapolis figured out.

LvilleTex said...

that's a great-looking commuter bike. love the bars and the tires and the Hoss (if that's the one).

Gordy said...

I love your fenders. I keep wishing I'd stole some of that material to make internal bracing for my big honking saddlebags, whatever they are.

Alas, so far too chicken to steal the signs.


Blog Archive