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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Goodbye, Bicycle

It's time to say goodbye to the bike. We will be leaving Korea sometime in the next week, and I want to find a home for it. If you live in Busan and are interested, go to Pusanweb, go to the Classifieds section (at the top of the home page), and look under "Used Items" (though I may link elsewhere). Of course, you can also just email or call me.

This post is just for me to remember the bike.
It's an Alton carbon-fiber frame. Very light-weight compared to the bikes I rode as a kid. Since I bought it, about four years ago, I've put about 10,000 km on it! That's enough to ride someplace 5,000 km away and back again! It's a hybrid--a cross between a mountain bike and a racing bike. This means that I don't have to lean forward as much as the racing guys, and my wheels are a bit wider. I replaced the off-road tires with street tires, which are much smoother. Makes for a better city-ride. I go off-road so infrequently that I don't mind.
I replaced the gears and chain with Shimano parts around 500 km ago. I didn't know the name before coming here, but I have since found that they make pretty high quality stuff. The original equipment was fine, but when I upgraded it felt like every hill was a bit less steep.
It has a headlight that runs on C batteries. I haven't used it in a long time, because I have no reason to ride at night these days. The taillight is an LED job, very visible from far away, but again, I rarely use it these days. When I was riding home from work every day, I used both a couple of times a week. Dusk falls by 6 p.m., and it's better to be safe than sorry. I've used the bell (to the right of the computer) a lot more. It works sometimes, but there are always people who walk along oblivious. If you are going to run into someone if they step out into the street, usually the best thing to do is yell "Look out!"

The computer you see above is a pretty standard model. It keeps track of current, average and top speed, as well as time spent riding. It has two trip odometers, as well as a general odometer. It's a pretty clever gadget. Measures your speed with a sensor that detects the field from a magnet attached to the front wheel. The more expensive versions have no wires, so you can carry the main gizmo in your pocket. The even more expensive ones come with a sensor you attach to yourself, to measure your heart rate. The frightfully expensive ones actually encourage you to work harder on the really steep hills.
As you can see, this bike took a little damage a couple of years ago. Coming down from Dalmaji, I hit a stretch of wash-board road. It shook me up, I lost control, and took a tumble. Both handlebars have scars, and the gel-seat cover got a bit scuffed. Other than that, the bike took no damage. I, however, lost skin on both elbows, both knees and my chin. I replaced my helmet soon afterwards. It didn't show any signs of damage, but I'm pretty sure it took a couple of hits in lieu of my skull. I have thought about replacing the damaged parts of the bike, but I figure they do two things: 1. They give the bike character (as my scars do to me), and 2. the make it a less likely target to be stolen.
I've had a lot of good experiences with this bike. I thought about taking it to America with me, but a couple of things have stopped that idea in its tracks. First of all, it was the biggest bike the guy had in his shop, but it's just a tiny bit small for me. I replaced the seat post with a longer post, so my legs aren't uncomfortable, but I do have to bend over a bit more than I like. I definitely wouldn't recommend this bike to anyone taller than I (5' 11"). Second, I don't think I qualify yet as a bicycle geek, but I am getting there. I spent about $500 on this bike, and have upgraded most of the moving parts. Now I'm ready for a bigger upgrade. I'm planning to spend $700-$800 in the states on a used bike. That's getting into the price range of people who are geeks, selling their expensive bikes at a huge loss so that they can buy something really expensive.

If we were moving across town, this one would come with me. But now is the time for me to say goodbye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometime in the next week??? Could you be a bit more specific? There are folks on this side of the world who are anxious about this stuff!

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