November 09, 2008

on ironic injuries, stupidity and new projects

It's ironic that I injure myself just over a week after I write about commuting safely to work. It's the kind of thing I always worry about. I'll say things like, yeah I haven't had a fall in ages and then I have a yard sale on the next ride. Or I'll say that I don't get sick very often, and then I come down with pneumonia. I didn't think karma was after me since I had a spill on one of the night rides recently, but riding home after a few drinks with no front light is just stupid, and a prime example of what pushing your luck can bring you. Not only was I a bike ninja, but an inebriated one at that. This is very dangerous and I soon found out. A silver sedan cut me off two blocks away from home (he probably never even saw me), I slammed on the brakes, slid into the curb and flew over the handlebars. Half an hour later I was at the hospital.
I'd like to state here that I generally don't ride after a few drinks. In fact, I'm a bit bothered by the prevalence of posts and articles on the net that endorse that sort of thing. This time however, I took a risk, and paid the price. My excuse was that I needed the bike for the Cyclocross race on the following day, and that I did not want to go through the hassle of getting a cab and stuffing the bike in the trunk. Yeah well, instead I have to deal with the maddening hassle of missing the rest of the Cyclocross season and not being able to ride a bike for at least a month. Common sense sometimes abandons me in the times of need. It's a personality flaw.
Not all is bad though, and recently I acquired this elegant Raleigh that will be my commuter once I've healed up. It's a 1987 Raleigh Record that's actually made in Canada. Or so it says on a sticker on the frame anyway. Perhaps it means that it was assembled here, like is the case with so many of the Canadian brands. On a side note, Raleigh has seen better days as a bike company and nowadays they seem to be mostly making department store bikes which are soooo not worth the Raleigh badge. It's interesting to see that the Canadian and UK websites advertise themselves as junk mongers, whereas the US one seems to have a bit more ambition. But I degress, the bike is a nice old 10-speed, well not nice maybe since the Record was sort of the entry level road bike and as such, does not sport very nice components at all. However the frame is nice and it's barely been used at all. The guy I bought it from claims he bought it new in 1987 but never really rode it much. I'm inclined to believe him. The frame is ridiculously big at 65cm bb to top of seat tube, but not very long at 61cm c/c top tube. It rides nicely and I love the forgiving flex of steel on the road. I have an old 7 speed road gruppo that I think I'll throw on this one along with some aluminum rims, longer cranks, nicer hubs, wider bars and some full wrap plastic fenders instead of the heavy steel ones that are on there now. That should drop the weight a little bit and I'll have a nice winter commuter. It will be called Basil, as in Fawlty, and I look forward to fixing this one up. The Bianchi which coincidentally is also a 1987 model will get a different treatment as that one will receive the Sugino Messenger cranks I bought for a bottle of Crown Royal, and will be my singlespeed/fixed stupid fun bike.


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Halldor said...

what tha fuck?