Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring cleaning

Spring has come early to Minnesota this year and the conditions couldn't be better for early season riding. The roads are dry, the snow has melted and, thanks to a mild snow year, the sand and salt blanketing our roads were at a manageable depth. It was time to give myself and the bike a once over. Time to tap in to some of that muscle memory I've built up over the years.

I took a little time off on Friday afternoon to clean out the cobwebs. It was in the 60s, the sun was shining and I didn't have anything at work that couldn't wait until later. I've been eyeballing the road conditions on some of my regular routes and seeing mostly dry pavement. After the last of the melting (and refreezing) snow has returned to the earth, I pulled the trigger.

After a short ride down some familiar roads I suck away to a little dead end street. It was the perfect spot to practice a few quick stops and "full lock" figure eights. I picked out a garbage can for my marker and worked on a series of progressively quicker stops from 40 mph. The first one was awful and I missed my downshifts, but it progressively got better. 

I don't do a lot of U-turns but do find that practicing slow speed turns helps get my neck muscles back in the swing of things.

Taking a peak at the tire's manufacture date told me that they were made in the 13th week of 2012. Three years old is probably okay, but four is too many. It may be time to start saving my nickles and do what I can to scrub off what's left of the tread.

The  gremlins were hard at work this winter. The rear brake wasn't lighting up the brake lite. After some testing I found that the sensor just stays open when the brake is applied.  My guess is that it should act like a switch sending power to the rear brake.

If I've learned anything this winter it's that I need more bike and barn pictures.

It is so good to be back on the road, my family was starting to worry about me. My last riding day of 2014 was on election day, 20 weeks ago. While that may sound like eternity to some, it's probably my personal record for the shortest winter break ever.

- Ride North

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