Last week I posted this picture of my trusty Milwaukee road bike:
Which prompted a longtime reader to point out that the bar tape is backwards or upside down or inside out or something.
I admit I got a little indignant. Sure, there was a time when my bread and butter was pointing out what was wrong with people’s bikes based on pictures on the Internet. Now, however, I’ve got a wheat allergy that prevents me from eating bread, and I’ve also lost my tolerance for this sort of nit-pickery. And while both my diet and my writing have become less entertaining as a result, ultimately I must put my own sanity first. See, it’s all about quality of life, and I can’t spend the rest of mine scratching at hives because I ate a bagel or saw a bike that still had a pie plate on it.
As for how to wrap bar tape, I’m well aware of the various schools of thought as to how one should mummify them, but ultimately all that matters is that the tape stays on, it doesn’t curl up at the ends, and it looks acceptable to the rider. It’s certainly possible that in my haste and/or not-giving-a-fuckedness I wrapped this particular cockpit “backwards” according to one of these prescriptions, but it’s stayed on just fine all these years, it looks fine to me, and at this rate it’s almost certainly going to wear away altogether before it relinquishes its anaconda-like grip on my handlebars:
Clearly I should have bought some tape with a crash protection policy:
NASTRO Bar Tape retails at $42usd for Piloti, $46usd for Fiore and $50usd for Cuscino. In the unfortunate event that a crash happens, and replacement of bar tape is needed, the customer will receive a $12 discount ($30, $34, and $38 respectively) for any color variant of the respective bar tape that was purchased (subject to availability).
No word on whether or not you’re covered if you wrapped your bars backwards.
Alternately, instead of recouping $12 on your $50 (!) bar tape, you could spend only slightly more than that on some Cinelli from Ben’s Cycle:
In fact, if you use the discount code from the ad over there in the right margin it will be even cheaper.
Honestly, that was my only real mistake: not using Cinelli. Sure, that Lizard Skins stuff looked and felt pretty good, but as soon as it got wet it shed its skin like the reptile for which it is named.
Speaking of the Milwaukee, I felt it needed a little spring in its step, so this morning I swapped the wheels for the Mavic Scaryums that came with my New-To-Me Titanium Forever Bike:
Part of the reason I hadn’t been using them was that they’d been creaking, but this time around they were silent. I don’t know if that’s because I snugged up the axle a bit before putting them on, or because they’re just happier nestled between the stays of this bike. Also, the 10-speed Campagnolo cassette (in the absolutely brilliant 13-29 toothway) works just fine with the Shimano drivetrain, and after a quick twist or two of the barrel adjuster I can access all the cogs with nary a mis-shift. (One or two cogs do run a tad rough, but given the state of the bike that’s the least of my concerns.) I’m not sure whether to attribute this fortuitous situation to the component makers’ tendency to exaggerate incompatibility, or to the fact that once a drivetrain gets this worn the tolerances get so loose it hardly matters, or both. I’ll leave such matters to professionals who can photograph their bikes without them falling down:
Looks like I just activated the crash replacement policy.