Sunday 25 July 2010
Posted in Cycling at 14:06
My last few weekends have been spent taking off wheels, pulling off old tires, scrubbing rubber and rust off rims, getting new rim tape put on, cleaning and oiling the derailleur and chain, then figuring out the old Simplex derailleur and adjusting it so it now shifts properly (the cable was a tad slack and one limit stop was too tight, which prevented shifting into the lowest gear). As always, the bike shop I’ve gone to for nearly five years now, Vélo Concept on boulevard Raimbaldi in Nice (if the Flash entrance doesn’t work, try this link instead), has been great. They gave my bike a quick look-over three weeks ago, pointing out a few things I hadn’t noticed, and yesterday they kindly put on new rim tape for me, for the same price as buying rim tape would have cost (plus, I wouldn’t have been able to put it on as well as they did).
Although my bike still needs a few more repairs — new brake and derailleur cables, as well as new brake pads — they’re not urgent. The 30-year-old Simplex derailleur works like a charm. I still remember the old lever shifter on the road bike I used twenty-odd years ago. It was a royal pain since it was very finicky. A millimeter off and it would throw a fit — with so little tolerance, it would often drift into a different speed while you were pedalling. While I haven’t yet tested my Peugeot on the road, it’s already clear that this Simplex shifter is a different beast: it’s solid, has definite stops with plenty of tolerance, and once you’ve memorized its stops, it sets into the new speed in less than a single pedal turn. On my old road bike, I had to pedal several times while fiddling with the lever until it finally decided it wasn’t going to be cranky any more.
We’ve been dealing with a heat and humidity wave for the last month here, so I’m waiting until this evening, when it will (hopefully) be a bit cooler, to take out my Peugeot for my maiden ride on it. I’ll probably take it down the tram tracks (as long as you pay attention to the trams and watch out at intersections, it’s much safer than the so-called “bike lanes” on roads here, which are more like “we painted on some new lines without changing the streets”) to the Promenade des Anglais, which has safer dedicated bike paths where I’ll be able to fiddle to my heart’s content without having to worry too much if I run into any problems.