Friday, August 07, 2009

The Duchess is dead. Well... sort of.

In addition to the last minute craziness with school prep - Yea for Monday the 10th! - there's been minor crisis which has demanded a bit of attention.

Duchess, my vintage Raleigh 10 speed, was run over by a car.

It was in the carport, at less than 5 mph, and I wasn't on it at the time.

My helpers (note the lowercase h) pulled the bikes out of the truck after Saturday's ride. They failed to lock my bicycle up with the rest of the stable, choosing instead to leave it propped against the side wall of the house. Next day, somebody (who shall remain nameless) was pulling into - or out of, never really got the whole story - the carport on a milkshake run with children, and...

Car snagged front wheel, put a lovely S-curve into the rim. (It's hard to show in a photo, since the fender bent with it partway, leaving it looking less warped than it is.) On a more recent bike... not that big a deal. But, as I've learned since Sunday, rims are no longer made with the same number of spokes, so the LBS will need to build the old sturmey archer hub into a new rim, and replace all the spokes, plus extras for the extra holes. $120-150, which isn't really all that bad. But...

There's the question of what's next. Completely mismatched rims will likely bug me, so I'll have to get the rear wheel rebuilt... but what happens when the ancient rear cogs are added to a new wheel? And, the crank has about a year or two left in it, tops. When the crank goes, that is also likely to mean most everything attached to it will need to be replaced, just so it all works together.

This means Duchess has gone from a useful bike which also happens to be a slow DIY project, into a full-blown PROJECT. I'm still scrubbing off the rust, tinkering with the mechanism in the bell, polishing chrome and conditioning the Brooks saddle, but won't be riding her again for a while.

Seeing as how school starts next week, and my schedule opens back up for 90% of daily commute and errands being done on two wheels, the lack of a city bike is a problem. After some browsing on Craigslist for a suitable replacement, ended up going to REI for a 2008 Raleigh Roadster Step Through. It allows for an upright position, is perfectly suited for riding around my 5 mile radius... in street clothes. I can have a generator hub and light installed when the days are shorter. REI installed the rack for me, so I'll be able to pop on the panniers Monday morning for my bank / library / coffee / grocery trip.

Went for a short inaugural ride Wednesday evening. Gotta say, it was kind of nice, not having to guess where the lever needed to be for a gear shift, or figuring out exactly how much pressure to put on the brakes (varies by humidity level... I swear). This is going to be a fun bike to ride, but I do miss Duchess.

Hopefully, the new bike will gain a personality as I ride more. The kidlets are debating names right now, and once they've settled on something, that'll help. After convincing one child that "Silver Surfer" is not an option, here's the list of finalists:

Annabeth Chase (daughter of Athena in Percy Jackson & The Olympians book series)

On a happier note, the green hybrid (Peppermint Patty) which was my very first bike as a new adult rider is going to a new home. A family friend has need of a starter bike, and I hope mine will do for her what it did for me.

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