Reunited, and it feels so good
As I readied myself to leave the house yesterday morning for work, a quick look at the sky told me I’d stay dry as long as I hustled. Well, I must not have hustled hard enough (sorry, Ace Hood), because I got drenched as soon as I turned off of Negley onto East Liberty Boulevard. For the rest of my commute, I was soaked. And starting your day with soaked clothes and shoes is kind of the worst (no one ever tells you just how heavy wet denim is). And I know, cotton kills. Still standing. Luckily, I work at a brewery with, shall we say, a flexible dress code. My lovely girlfriend delivered dry socks and pants on her way into work, which was a godsend, but I would have done truly heinous things for a bicycle with full fenders. I was on my CAAD5 track bike, which is good — stiff — fun, but not a great rain ride. I’ve been on it for the past week or so as I have my Cross-Check (with fenders!) powder coated and overhauled in preparation for my TransAm trek. Well, I got it back yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier.
During planning for my move to Pittsburgh, I decided I wanted a better city bike. Something that could haul a few groceries, accept fenders and serve as a little bit of an urban-assault machine. At the time, I owned a 2011 CAAD 10-3 and a 2003 CAAD 5 track bike, which, while bitchin’ in their own right, didn’t quite fit the bill. I test rode a Cross-Check at Thick Bikes in Pittsburgh, and enjoyed it. After prowling eBay and Craigslist for a bit, I landed on an older (no low-rider rack fork mounts) black 56 cm Cross-Check that’d been tuned up and turned into a bit of a gravel grinder. It seemed like a great deal, so I put a bid in. It’s been a fun ride around town, but set up a little funky and not quite an ideal touring rig (inasmuch as a Cross-Check can be an ideal touring rig — you can look forward to a post on my existential touring bike crisis before traveling a single loaded mile). I knew I needed to replace the crank with something a little more suitable. It came with an Octalink FSA carbon triple (53/39/30) and my Dad had a NOS Suntour 46/36/24 square taper on hand, which he offered up. So, since I don’t have the tools for those BB standards, and I wanted to change the bike’s color anyway, I jumped on the opportunity to get tuned up. The bike went to Kindred Cycles (complete with CC photo!), a new bike shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, opened by Katharine Jordan and Aaron Stein. They did a great job stress relieving and touching up my new machine built wheels, as well as a complete bicycle overhaul/crankset installation. I took the frame and fork to Dylan’s Coatings in Plum, and couldn’t be happier with the work. With extremely competitive pricing and a two-day turnaround, I couldn’t go wrong. Aaron and Katharine said this was one of the cleanest powder coatings they’d seen. Mark at Dylan’s protected all the threads, bosses and faces, so the frame required minimal facing and chasing. I picked it up yesterday, after the rain’d passed, but can’t wait to get some miles on it at this weekend’s NYC Five Boro tour. I’ll put together a future post with the obligatory build out, but for now, I’m happy to be able to put the hammer down in my new 46-tooth big ring. Watch out.