Thursday, November 6, 2008

Riding with the Grand Bois bars

Sorry for the long delay in finally posting my ride report on the bars. It's been a very busy couple of weeks!

I took Niles for a ride with his new bars last week and liked them right away. The flatness of the ramp (close to 0 degrees) was a bit off-putting at first, but I got used to it, and really liked the variety of positions the bars permit. One thing my conversation with Mike Barry last week reinforced is that "fit" riders need different positions than non-fit ones. Put more properly, different things are comfortable for different types of riders. Racers in the peloton are comfortable with their bars really low; they ride in that positions for seven hours a day — it's a viable long-distance position. I'm not quite at that level, but I like my bars relatively low, and I like to be able to stretch out. These bars allow that. I'm a lot more comfortable on them than on the GB bars. (Strangely, I'm still most comfortable in the drops.)

Note also the new tape and new shellac. It makes me sad to have to remove perfecly good tape that was carefully wrapped and shellacqued, like I did from my GB bars. But it's an opportunity to make things look even nicer than before. I put four layers of clear shellac on this time, making the tape darker and shinier.

The photos on the right show Niles on my ride today. It was probably the last nice day of the year here in Toronto — warm and sunny, and with lots of leaves still falling. Spring and fall are my favourite times of year to ride. I don't like the heat of summer, for one thing. I prefer to wear long sleeves and tights and to have the option of unzipping the collar to cool off. Spring has the advantage that one is excited to get back on the road. Fall has the leaves, and the sense of having to make the most of every ride before the snow starts falling.

I have naturally been thinking a lot about what to do with the sets of 531 currently bound for my door. My thoughts were helped along by my dinner with Mike Barry and my trip to my hometown of London, Ontario over the weekend. One thing I wanted to talk about with Mike was Greg Curnoe, a London artist who painted — among other things — bikes. Some of his best paintings are of Mariposas. My favourite is "Mariposa T.T." from 1979 (I went to Museum London hoping to see it, but it's not on display at the moment.) It's a painting of an actual Mariposa owned by Greg, with some creative license taken with the colours (though not much, according to Mike). I've decided that my next bike will be based on this one, with a paint job that will be a "literal transcription" of the painting — i.e., lots and lots of colours. I'll use a Reynolds tubeset, Prugnat lugs, and an old Nervex crown.

No updates on where I'll actually build all this — but I'll figure something out!