I like taking a look at the search words that land people here at The Old Bag. In the past couple of months, I've gotten some interesting hits from people who have used the following terms:
Pearl Izumi along with the words screaming yellow and/or rack...not necessarily a flattering post
Bianchi Cross Concept
LDL but I bet their ratios aren’t as good as mine are!
Girly Posters bet this guy was disappointed!
Raleigh Grand Prix
Now, none of these searches pop The Old Bag blog to the top of search engine listings, but some people dig deeply enough through search results to get to page 6 and decide to stop by for a visit, hoping to find an Average Joe's or Typical Betty's comment -- someone who has experience with what they’re thinking of buying or who has stuff like theirs. It also made me realize visitors don't always find quite what they're looking for...because when I write about something I tend to not write: I love PRODUCT NAME because it has THIS CHARACTERISTIC and works in THIS APPLICATION.
Instead, I write Betty can get me out when no other ride can. Betty??? She's a 2003 Bianchi San Lorenzo. The team I was on had been outfitted originally with 2000 EV2 frames that eventually developed cracks, and Bianchi sent out the San Lorenzo frame as its replacement. It has a perfect center of balance: lower through the trunk and hips. I did hear from some who changed out the fork to something stiffer, however. The San Lorenzo isn't comfy like an old shoe...that isn't what it was built for. She wants to GO. She's a race frame, she's built to move and she's a ball to ride. She's quick, light (16 lbs complete...I believe that includes the Speedplays), and knows climbs. I recently replaced the way old wheelset with Mavic Ksyrium SLs because I got a screamingly good deal on them through team sponsorship (as has been the case with all of my hardware). Lightweight and true so far.
And, it's not a 2006 Bianchi Cross Concept. It's the pony who goes her own way and surprises on every ride with how smooth, solid, light and versatile she is. I love that bicycle. Love it. Looooove it. There are a couple things missing (like rack eyelets), and a couple things different (the cantilever brakes take some getting used to after road calipers) but given the reason this bicycle was made, it's spot-on for its purpose. I use it for a 24-mile round trip commute, hauling a bit of gear over some rough stuff through the industrial park and down the limestone trail. I use it for some swoopy singletrack. Perfect. The Scandium frame with that bit of carbon in the rear triangle was a mistake though...it made the ride so supple that now visions of a full carbon road frame are dancing through my head don't tell Betty. There's a reason I never test-ride certain materials: I know I'll like them. Two things I'd been able to avoid up to this point because I refuse to go near them: titanium and carbon. The Cross Concept was a bit manipulative in that it underhandedly slid some carbon underneath my bod. And I liked it.
After the headlight fiasco of last winter (and given difficulties I had with the ancient cord that was soldered onto the new battery yes, fire -- NOT the solderer's fault, the cord is from '97), I saved my pennies and recently picked-up a 5-watt DiNotte LED headlamp. This light rocks. Love it. High, low and flash modes. It's bright: the equivalent of a 12+ watt halogen, and the beam is wide without washing-out. The mounting mechanism (mechanism...yeah, can you say o-ring?) is a breeze. When the batteries are running low, it shifts to low power mode but doesn't turn off and leave me in the dark. It's lightweight: 210 grams includes the batteries. And those aren't proprietary batteries: they're rechargeable AAs. Buy one. If you want more info, search Lactic Acid Threshold for DiNotte find a dozen posts or go to Gear Review.
Any mountain bike. Get one. Quit being exclusive and get off-road. It'll give your road skills a huge boost because you'll use your mind and body in ways you don't on a road bike. It'll turn 20 miles into a huge workout that you'll be able to counteract with the greasy burger and cigar you enjoy afterward. Mine's a used '04 Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail -- light, nimble, upgradeable.
S and S Couplers: These babies turn an ordinary bicycle into a travel bicycle, and for the money you'll pay out on the conversion you'll save $$$ in shipping over the years. My old Lemond Zurich became check-through luggage this past spring. No packing up the ride and sending it out a week early. No extra charge for flying. No questions at the ticket counter. I debated for years on this one...if you're in that same boat GET OUT NOW and git 'er done. The one difference I've noticed is that the couplers seem to have made the frame a tad stiffer, which may be due to their relatively close placement near the seat tube, required of early 853 butting. If you're in the Twin Cities, go to Bob Brown for the conversion...beautiful work...but do it before the February rush.
Castelli full Windstopper jacket: Windstopper on the front, back and sleeves. Two zippers in front provide venting without opening my warm insides to 30-degree breezes. Unfortunately, I don't think they make this one anymore. Mine was given to me as a gift in the winter of '99 or '00 thank Dude and if I'm ever without it I'll search high and low for another one like it. It's the one thing that I'd be willing to actually put out full-price for because I have a temperature comfort range this wide | | and it allows me to ride well into the cold season.
SmartWool: socks, lightweight zip T baselayer...godsends both. Wool that's soft and comfortable next to your skin. I watch Sierra Trading Post for these.
And a Zefal HPX frame pump. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a group with a flat and inevitably the frustrated flatter leaves behind their compact mini-pump (even cartridge models): “Does ANYONE have a DECENT pump I can use?!” We all think we’ll be able to get by with a pump that will provide enough air to get us home...what we all really want is a pump that will let us continue the ride. Get one. Parts are fully maintainable and replaceable.
Oh, Speedplay road pedals...if you're hooked on road pedals, I love these: double-sided with lots of float. That cleat finds exactly where it's supposed to be every time -- no using the toe of my shoe to flip it over as I fumble to find the correct side. They're a can't-miss snap-in. Set my foot down and I'm there.
So, there it is. I’m such a product whore...wait a minute, it’s not like they’re paying me anything for writing this. WHY THE HELL AREN’T THEY PAYING ME ANYTHING FOR WRITING THIS?!?
- TOB I sooo want to be a product whore.