Bar Crawling

Firstly, those of you who have ordered jeans from Osloh are probably getting them by now:

[The Lane Jean, which I wear like every day now.]

If you’re like me, when you first opened the package and took them out you thought to yourself, “Holy crap, there’s a lot going on with these jeans!” Well, yes there is, but put on your big boy pants, stop worrying, and start breaking ’em in. What you’ll find is that after a few rides and a couple washes they start softening up nicely, and after enough pee breaks that button fly starts breaking in and you can get down to business much more quickly. And yes, you’ll even come to appreciate all those pockets, which can easily swallow objects such as socket wrenches and “mini” pumps that are no longer mini by today’s standards, those being just two things I’ve portaged in them recently. Oh, and let’s not forget those days when you grab your bike with nutted axles and realize you need to carry yet another tool:

No problem! “Hipster tool in the side pocket:’

Always call your shots when you’re playing pocket pool.

By the way, the reason I was riding a bike with nutted axles was because it was raining on Saturday, so I opted for my Midlife Crisis Fixie and headed to Randall’s Island, which for some reason is becoming my default rainy day destination:

By the time I got home from my ride I was pretty wet, and so I hung my pants up to dry using the integrated hanging loop:

[Designer cycling jeans, vinyl, and a framed New York Times article about myself…I am truly the worst human being alive.]

And no, I had no idea what that loop was even for until someone explained it in the comment section of this very blog.

Nobody learns more from this website than me.

But while I may not have yet come to terms with my age or my affectations, I’ve at least come to admit to myself that the flat, straight handlebars on my American M-16 are too much on my aging wrists:

I’ve long been tempted to put bars with more sumptuous width and sweep on this bike, but so far I haven’t, because there’s really no point in turning it into a Rivendell-esque bike that will live in my actual Rivendell’s shadow:

[My actual Rivendell in actual shadow.]

At the same time, I simply like the M-16 too much not to make it more comfortable, and so I’ve been searching for some inexpensive bars that would stay true to the bike’s sporting nature and let it be itself while also better accommodating my increasingly old-guy sensibilities. Finally, I ordered myself some Velo Orange Postino bars:

My thinking was that these would give me the sweep I wanted while at the same time retaining the bike’s racy character–plus, because they’re pretty narrow, they’d allow me to use the existing stem and cables.

Alas, when the bars arrived this past weekend I found that, due to the drastic change in angle, I would indeed need to re-cable the bike. Moreover, after putting them in the stem and sitting on the bike I worried that maybe they weren’t the best fit for the M-16 after all, and that I kinda had this thing going on, which really doesn’t suit a mixed-terrain rambler:

Ah, 2009…heady days indeed:

Hey, look at that, it took me until 2020 to finally feel worthy of my fancy clothes.

I certainly didn’t want to go through the trouble of re-cabling the bike if the handlebars weren’t just right–and that’s when laziness showed me the way, as it so often does. It had occurred to me while riding my Midlife Crisis Fixie earlier that day that the handlebars were actually pretty darn comfortable. So I took them off that bike and compared them to both the original bars on the M-16 and the Milano bars:

Hmmm, could this porridge be just right? Inspired, I got to work, and not only did the fixie bars fit perfectly with my existing cables and controls, but they also functioned within the aesthetic framework of the bike’s particular idiom and vernacular–which is to say the M-16 still looked like a classic mountain bike and not some kind of hacked-together Rivendon’t:

Best of all, the extra bit of rise nudged me even further into the comfort stratum:

As for the now-barless Midlife Crisis Fixie, it in turn got the Postinos, and I daresay that transplant was also a success:

For this bike, the sweep works well:

Sure, they do lower the cockpit a bit, which means, well…you know:

Had I been shopping specifically for this bike I’d probably have gone with the Milan bar, which would have retained the same bar height. But I’d argue it’s still perfectly acceptable within a fixie context, and so far I’m quite pleased–though some rise would not be unwelcome, which is probably why my bike is gazing longingly at this cargo bike:

As for the cargo bike, it caught my eye from a distance, and when I went in for a closer inspection I saw it was an Argo conversion kit!

Argo is of course a generous sponsor of this blog, and here’s what you can pull off with one:

I’ll take this opportunity to remind you that Argo is having a sale for EU customers. Just click here, use the “20PercentBikeSNOB” discount code, and you’ll get 20% off–because remember, cargo bike conversions are the new fixie conversion! (Actually I’m pretty sure 26-inch-MTB-to-650b-gravel-conversions are the new fixie conversion, but whatever.)

Finally, this morning I successfully combined running some errands with riding some dirt, which is the sort of thing you can pull off when you live in upstate New York City. Of course the M-16 also helped me in this endeavor, as did the tex-lock, shown here securing the front wheel and frame (and I wonder if I could also have snared the rear wheel if I’d have taken more time):

And here easily wrapped around one of those big poles you always wish you could lock up to when there are no bike racks or signposts anywhere nearby:

I still can’t speak to the lock’s durability in the event it’s set upon by a professional thief with a full complement of tools, but I can say with certainty it’s a pleasure to use. Not only is it easy on your bike because it’s soft, but it’s also easy to carry because it’s light–I just kept it in a shoulder bag the whole ride, even when I was getting sub-rad on the trails at Highbridge. And it’s perfect for when you want to lock up two bikes but you don’t want to carry two locks, which happens all the time when you ride with kids:

As for the errands, let’s just say one of them involved procuring some glue:

And as for the dirt, it confirmed to me that with the new bars the M-16 is greatly improved:

Though at one point I did come across some tire tracks…

…and judging from the fine tread pattern some of those gravel types have been up this way:

There goes the neighborhood.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: