Look, I’m just going to skip over a bunch of the last year because the last thing I need to is to relive this horror-show. It’s been/is bad, people. Real bad. I’ve tried to make some amount of lemonade out of this truckload of rotten lemons. It’s been hard.
A couple of highlights:
- The gravel bike is done- minus maintenance. Tubeless tires, a new Chris King headset, lower gears and a new crank (46/29 chainrings!), and so on. It’s such a fun bike to ride, and I’m super happy I took the time to really build this thing out. I still have a tendency to take it on overly-technical trails, but let’s be honest: I was going to do that on any gravel bike.
- I finally sourced a new handlebar and stem combo for my road bike. I needed to shorten the reach and raise the bars a bit (from a hyper-aggressive fit) to ease my aching back. It’ll be the first change I’ve made to that bike in ~20 years (besides consumables).
- I ordered a new mountain bike. Fully custom/bespoke, it’s a Waltworks steel hardtail. Custom sizing, custom geometry, custom everything. I’ve built a number of custom bikes over the years- and while I’ve been constrained by budget before, I’ve never been so constrained by availability. Sourcing parts was really difficult on this one. I’m still building it- wheels are backordered and the drivetrain is en-route, but the frame/fork and some parts are here.
- We made a makeshift garden last spring that was a massive success- we grew more things in a tiny space with more success than I’d ever imagine. Heck, we grew watermelons and cantaloupes and pumpkins and peppers and greens and all manner of things. So: we’re quintupling the garden size for next year- and we’re getting better seeds and starting things earlier and and and. Pretty excited here. The calming effect of hanging out in the garden cannot be overstated- it’s been a massive benefit for us all.
- We’re likely doing a few goats this spring. There are a lot of reasons, and it really deserves it’s own post, so I’ll do that as we get closer. Likewise the garden, really.
- More hiking. We’ve been pushing to get outside as often as we can- and walking in the woods has really helped the whole crew here manage some of the stress. We’re looking to keep doing this all through the winter.
Here’s where things stand, currently:
The gravel bike has seen some work- it has “new” wheels (with ceramic rim sidewalls- next best thing to disc brakes!), a “new” cassette (11-32, for more hill-climbing low end), re-fitted fenders (which currently need a new adjustment, give new wheels and tires), and a new stem and bars. Stem is 10mm shorter and 40mm taller, bars are 40mm wider (at the hoods, more so in the drops). HUGE change to the nature of the bike- it feels a lot more balanced and capable. It needs a “new” rear derailleur installed to really make use of that 32t cog, but it’s in the parts bin already.
I’ve been sewing a bit again. The gravel bike will likely get a front rack/basket combo for longer rides (to better keep weight off my back/out of my jersey pockets), so I needed a basket bag. Sure, there are loads of people that make really nice well thought out bags for just this sort of thing. But why buy one of those when you can hack together a mediocre version yourself? I’m currently on a second prototype- and it’s not too bad. Simple, mind you. But not too bad.
Iv’e also started working on a pattern to sew bike caps. I’ve always liked these, thought they seem to have gotten somewhat harder to find these days. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so I made my own based on some measurements from a cap I’d bought. The first draft surprisingly came out wearable (thought there’s obviously still lots of room for improvement). I’m super excited about these for some reason.
House-bike infrastructure needs some work. I’ve added some bikes and tools to the fleet recently, and I’ve not updated storage or workspace to take that into account. The garage, especially, needs some love to really be workable as a space.
I’m working on a custom yearly reference book for myself. I’ve toyed with this idea for a long time- and I’ve made analog attempts before, but I think I’ve finally settled on form. I’ve had some success in the past using POD services to output one-off books for myself. That’s been collections, custom texts, portfolios and whatnot, but I’m working on what feels like a cross between a photo book and a commonplace book. I’m likely going to use Blurb to print a copy or two (not for resale!), and then I’ll start compiling next year’s copy. It’ll be full of reference that I’ve created/aggregated/compiled during a given year, and it’ll function as a research time capsule. Pretty excited about this one.
What’s new? This week has been exhausting. Emotionally, physically… just a mess. I’ve not looked forward to a weekend this much in a long time.
- I’m seeing Hamilton in Boston this weekend. I’m pretty excited- I enjoy theater a lot, and I’ve been hoping to be able to see this show for a long time.
- The new car is on order. If I understood the dealership properly, it’s on a boat right now- and it’s due in some time in mid-October. I did some hunting around to see if I could find one in stock we could buy sooner, but all the model/trim/color we’re buying are on the same boat, apparently.
- New phones are here. I’ve long-since stopped being overly excited about cell phones, and this isn’t really an exception to that. It’s nice, mind you- bigger screens are good. And FaceID is pretty slick. But it’s a phone, right?
- I still need to replace the chain (again) on my mountain bike. It’ll be the second or third chain this season, I think. I’m not sure if my chain failed and took my chainguide with it, or if the chainguide failed and killed my chain. Either way, I need to install a new one.
- Salsa cycles has stopped production on the tandem I was looking at buying. That’s ok, I suppose, as I’m (apparently) buying a car right now. On the other hand, it’s going to make eventually finding a reasonable bike that much harder.