Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Things That Don't Suck, Part 2

What better way to get back up to blog speed than with some bite-sized morsels of non-suckitude? Regular readers (and even some of the irregular ones) might recall Part 1 of the TTDS series way back in December, when I was desperately looking for ways to stop griping about the weather. With TTDS 2, it looks like I've got a recurring theme! Hurrah! I'll tack some bikey ones into this one, since the weather means that biking doesn't suck... hence...

In March. In Iowa. Enough said, methinks. Especially since reality is supposed to return tomorrow.

In the ongoing science experiment known as my bike collection, the trend has been toward better choices of fewer gears. The fixie was the extreme case that proved I could probably pare down. Pretty soon, the tourer went from three chainrings to two, and this week, it's taken the next step: single-ringdom. One 42-tooth ring is centered on an 11-28 eight-speed cassette. That's it. No front derailleur, no front shifter, fewer cables, simple. I had some annoying chain-drop incidents until I realized that I had about four links too many in the chain. The front derailleur had been acting as a chain-keeper, letting me get away with my lousy job of chain measurement. With those links out, it's snick-snick-snick-snick-snick-snick-snick-snick. Eight lovely clicks, eight gear ratios. If I need to go slower, I'll walk. If I need to go faster, I'm probably coasting downhill anyway.

This one's for the locals, although it does have vaguely bikey/human-scale neighborhood implications for me. That's right, the old Dahls grocery store on Ingersoll (a barely-standing, tiny antique) closed last night, and the shiny new one opened this morning right behind the old location. Inger-Dahls was one of the things I really liked about our neighborhood back when we moved in, since it's about two blocks from my front door. Honestly, if I bike there, I'm doing it just as an excuse to get a bike out, since a two-block ride is like using a Hummer to drive a mile. In the winter, we never stockpile supplies for blizzards, figuring that if the weather's bad enough to keep me from walking two blocks, the house probably won't be standing either. With the new, sparkly, big, fully-stocked Inger-Dahls up and running, we'll never have to shop for grub anywhere else. Most of the employees (a crazy-diverse, multi-lingual bunch) seem to live in the neighborhood too, so it feels nice to keep our dollars close to home.

I have several more, but I'd better pace myself. That'll teach me not to take a week away from the blog... it gives me brain backlog!


John Speare said...

70 F? I'm really really jealous. I think we're still at least a month out for that niceness.

Also, shouldn't that be 7 snicks?

Steve Fuller said...

I'm somewhat torn about the new Ingerdahls. The new store just seems to lord over the houses there on Woodland. Walks up the street those two blocks were sunny and you had a bit of a destination to walk towards. Now you get down to the end of y(our) street and you can practically touch the store.