The snow melted faster than it came. Over the weekend I stole the opportunity to fit the new Profile Imperial 44t ring – one tooth smaller than the one I removed for a negligible change to the bike’s gearing. 2.2% lower. Hardly worth mentioning…
The old chain was utterly worn out so I replaced it before it was able to do any damage to the new ring. I abuse and neglect my bikes, my guilt assuaged by the vague notion that I am somehow ‘doing product testing’. It’s not laziness, no. This bike and Big Blue live outside. A true utility bike must be able to withstand anything nature can throw at it. Failing to lube my chain regularly and not replacing it when it’s worn out is something that many people do to their bikes. The Africa bike is now running as well at it should have when I first built it from the box. Where the line is between slackness and product research I’ll leave you to decide.
Is this now the strangest looking Africa Bike on the planet?
Over the years, especially recent years, I’ve been slowly raising my bars. Partly it’s an age thing, but also my riding is more utility oriented these days. My road bike got sold and my mountain bike is in bits. And I don’t miss them. Until the weekend the height of the bars on the Africa bike was limited by the length of my cables. What was happening, (and which I was very resistant to!) was that every time I raised the bars I wanted to raise them further. Those of you who have been riding about bolt upright in the Euro/Dutch stylee for many years will be reading this with a sense of ‘well duh!’ I’m sorry, it just took me a long time to latch on. With new cables on I was able to raise them higher still. And I think I’m nearly there…
I had the good fortune to encounter a Montego Mamafeits recently, and it scores where my Africa bike falls; the top tube length. If I want to be able to carry Rufus and have my bars nearer to me I really need bars with a greater sweep back and a greater distance from seat to head.
Is the Africa Bike reaching the end of its usefulness? Do I need to commission a new frame from Ricky Feather. Can he weld gas pipe?
Horrid Shi**no zinc plated chain will have to do until I can find a chrome SRAM or KMC one. The reflective stickies between the spokes deliver a woosh of light as the wheel spins when illuminated by headlights. Applied only half way around the rim – from valve to weld – gives a better effect in my opinion. A pretty good lightshow when combined with the reflecty side wall of the front tyre methinks.