Friday, February 6, 2009

6am, 32 degrees, 11 thousand miles

Yesterday morning on my way in to work (turning onto Lake City Way from 61st, to be exact) my bike kicked over the 11,000 mile mark. I've had it right at about a year, as we bought it right before our cruise last January, and I got the new seat for it so I could ride it soon after we returned home. I've put a little over 8,000 miles on it in a years' time, nearly all of it commuting with only a handful of "fun" rides on it as well as the Experienced Rider Course we did last spring.

For Christmas this year, Mom got me the new windshield that I wanted and Chris bought me the laminar lip to go with it. The windshield was an easy swap that I did on Christmas day, but putting on the lip required warmer garage temperatures than we had, plus markers and a second person, so that didn't go on until the weekend after New Years. I was really worried about getting it on straight, as anything that is slightly "off" will catch my attention and bother me to no end, but Chris did a very nice job lining up the attachment points. The adhesive seems to be very strong and despite not fully attaching on two dots, I've never seen the lip so much as wiggle up to about 90mph or so. For comparison, you can look up at the blog title bar to see a picture of the bike with the old windshield, which barely came up over the handlebars.

The new setup is so much more comfortable it's unreal. I have almost zero airflow from my nose down to my chest, meaning that I don't have to wear the fleece tube around my neck and chin unless the temperature dips below 25 degrees. I've had a slight increase in helmet fogging from that as well, but with the wind blocking I can actually crack the visor comfortably. I've also put the "breath guide" piece that came with the helmet back into it, which is a soft rubbery piece that goes between the visor and my face to guide breath down and to the vents, rather than up across the visor. Basically, in summary, the new windshield is as great an improvement for cold-weather riding as the heated jacket was at this time last year. Yay for technology!

Back in October I mentioned my new boots, and I added a new pair of gloves to the tally in November after the old ones started ripping badly enough to leak. Men's XS size gloves are just not meant for me, and it was the yanking to get them small enough that did them in, unfortunately. Based on some experiences on a forum, I picked up a pair of RevIt Farenheits in their womens' line, complete with waterproofing, temperature-regulating core, fleecy lining, armor on the knuckles, and a windproof finish. For the first few weeks I was worried I had chosen poorly, as they were so stiff and snug that it was not easy to ride in them. However, in the past few weeks they have finally finished breaking in and I completely adore them - comfortable, fit properly (no "ratcheting down" past the intended sizing!), and very very warm. The boots have also broken in the rest of the way and no longer mark up my leg when I ride, and I'm looking forward to using them for quite some time in the future. My next gear purchase will be a new helmet in March when I get my bonus - I'm looking at a Shoei right now, but will definitely go back and try on all of the higher end helmets to find one that really meets my needs. The Scorpion I've got now is good enough, but the better helmets are much, much lighter and have some better airflow features, which I am in sore need of due to the fogging problems mentioned earlier. Mainly, however, I really want a lighter helmet that makes it easier to move my head as I do have some restriction in my movement due to the weight of the current one.

Then there is always the wish list - bar risers and a back mudflap being highest on that particular list. Chris' brother may be moving to Oakland, CA later this year and he's thinking it would be fun to take a riding trip to visit him. I agree that would be pretty neat, but at least with my current setup I don't think it would be so comfortable, so we'll see!

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