New chainrings and a new rack in the rain

It wasn’t exactly cold, but it was a little chilly.  And there was a constant drizzle that was just on the borderline of being called rain.  The weather report said the gusts were in the 15-20 mph range.  Generally not the ideal riding conditions.

And I was loving every minute of riding in it.

It had been about two full weeks (or is it three now?) since I’d last really ridden my bike on a regular basis.  I was trying really really hard to do the right thing and allow the nagging iliotibial issues I’ve been suffering with heal (I already whined about these in a previous post).  Well, actually, the knee pain wasn’t really the whole story about why I hadn’t been commuting.  I’d also demolished two of the three of my chainrings and was waiting for replacements to arrive at my local Independent Bike Shop.  To make a long story short, it looks like I probably lost one of the 5 bolts that hold the large chainring onto the spider.  This caused the ring to flex, which resulted in in snapping at one point.  Then, at the break, the chain dropped off of the big ring and crammed itself in between the big and middle rings – also bending the middle ring.  Sigh.

City Bicycle Works had the big ring (a 52) in stock, but the middle ring (the 42) had to be ordered.  Well, that came in the day before yesterday, and I stopped in to pick it up yesterday.  That made last night wrenching night.  The new rings were actually an upgrade from the previous.  The new ones are pretty much Shimano 105 stock, while the older ones were Shimano … well, circa 1980 something.  Even upside down on the bench I noticed the shifts were quicker compared to the older (and now demolished) chainrings.

The drive train wasn’t the only thing new.  Those of you following along will recall that my current commuter bike was a recent placement for one that got stolen.  Well, the Cannondale I picked up to replace it made it a little challenging to put a rack on the back to carry my laptop, clothes, etc.   It has no eyelets on the forks, and the only eyelets on the read dropouts were directly under the seat stays – making it tricky to get a rack support bolted on vertically.   There are also no mounting points on the seat stays, so I’d have to work around that too.

After some digging and searching, I got in contact with a guy named Wayne at The Touring Store.  He sells racks made by a German company named Tubus.  Every reference I could find to these racks was positive, and coupled with some good feedback I got about both Tubus and The Touring Store from a coworker I’d already decided to go that route.  After a couple of phone calls with Wayne, and sending a couple of photos of the bike, he recommended a particular rack and some additional fitting hardware to make this all attach snugly and securely to my bike and I was on my way.

So, here’s my Cannondale – complete with shiny new chainrings and a uber-cool rack on the back to hang my bags off of.  My knee was feeling good (i.e. didn’t hurt) and I was up and ready to go.  It was time to get to work the way I like to get to work – on my bike.

That’s a long, forking story that doesn’t do much but illustrate why I can honestly write: It was rainy and windy – miserable riding conditions – and I loved every minute of it!

Ride Safe!