I originally posted about the Summer Games 2 contest on the Grease Rag blog here. I am going to be blogging about my participation in Let's Go Ride a Bike's Summer Games 2. Check out my first post on "Social Cycling," and get inspired to try something new!
The second set of challenges involve "Learning Experiences." From June 7- June 27 the challenges were to:
- Perform a maintenance task- big or small!
- Decorate your bike
- Read a book about cycling
- Carry a load on your bike- Groceries, etc.
- Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride
Perform a maintenance task- big or small!
This has been the hardest challenge to remember to take a photo of. In the past week I have tightened chain ring bolts, cleaned my drive train, lubed my freewheel, worked on my rear derailleur (can't tell you how proud I am of that little achievement!) and tweaked various barrel adjusters. Either these are things I just "do" without thinking, or by the time I think, "I need a photo for the blog!" I'm already up to my pits in grease.
Enter: Rainy Sunday afternoon.
I'm not made out of sugar (more like salt) so I don't melt when I get wet, but sometimes I do not feel like getting rained on. Instead of riding, I decided to spend Sunday afternoon cleaning my roommate's bike- an old blue Schwinn Varsity. This bike is great and has a ton of life left in it but it suffers from neglect. The drive train was absolutely encased in dirty, gunky, old grease. I could hear the grit in the derailleur spindles, the front tire was flat, rust spots covered the wheels and it was generally just looking sad.
Grease rags, all-purpose degreaser, latex gloves, some tinfoil, a tube patch, lube, grease, a couple of beers and a touch of baking soda later... A gloriously clean machine that's lubed and ready to roll.
In exchange for the bike-detailing, the roommate took some photos. Awesome.
Decorate your bike
I'm not really one for decoration, but I do think she looks lovely this way, don't you? (New bar tape, a bath, and a pretty satin ribbon.)
Read a book about cycling
This is the only challenge from "Learning Experiences" that I was able to relate to WTFs! Most of these challenges were done in isolation as opposed to the "Social Cycling" challenges.
I have been reading this awesome collection of zines called, "Chainbreaker," and the local WTF zine, "Dames on Frames."
"Chainbreaker" is a zine by Shelly Lynn Jackson and Ethan Clark. The first part of the collection I have is about basic bike repair. It is useful if you need basic reminders, but is not as useful as a technical stand-alone manual. The second half of the collection are zines that focus on women's liberation via the bicycle, Shelly's experiences as a woman in a male-dominated bike world, along with practical DIY tips. You can get Chainbreaker from Microcosm Publishing, here.
"Dames on Frames" is a zine published by a local feminist bike collective. The group started as a bike feminism class taught through EXCO. For their final class project they compiled Issue #1. Read about biking through the winter, stories about conquering fears and acquiring skills, and tips on how to be a fierce WTF biker. You can download zines for free from their Google Group, here.
Carry a load on your bike- Groceries, etc.
I love my rack.
... Just wanted to give that a second to sink in. When I leave my house it's normal for me to be away for at least 8 hours, but often it is longer. To deal with being away from home base through long days I've started to live like a snail. I keep a change of clothes, tools, some emergency food, and Grease Rag fliers in my "shell" that I schlep around wherever I go. For this, I love my rack and panniers. There's no way I would want to ride around town with my snail shell on my back- I'd much rather throw it in the trunk.
This challenge was the easiest for me, because with the rack and panniers I'm always ready to take on extra cargo. The photo above is of my Bianchi loaded for a bike camping trip. I took the photo before June 7, so I also carried another load of groceries just for the contest. Check out the junk in my trunk!
Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride
For my commute into work and during this wet and wild time of the year I mostly ride my Bianchi cross/ touring bike because of its nice brakes and cargo capacity. Once summer heats up and I feel like zipping around I will ride my minimal single speed road bike. I haven't been on that many bikes, so I had a lot of options for this challenge. I wanted to get creative, so I went to Calhoun Cycle and asked my friend John to show me a few "different" bikes. I only took about 10 minutes with each of these rides, but this exercise definitely expanded my definition of "bicycle."
Click the photo above for more info on the bikes I test rode.
Next up, "New Territory"