Baby v5.0

September 9, 2012

“Baby” is the name I’ve long ago given to my bicycle.

Recently she’s gotten a few improvements, which represents roughly the 5th “iteration” of the bike since I bought it.

V1.0 is below – the bike brand new, with no changes or additions.

Shortly after getting the bike, I added a small “trunk bag” (of sorts) on the back rack, in order to carry various fuels, car keys, whatever.  The below picture shows this “era” (V2):

Not terribly long after this, I also added a serviceable handlebar bag to the bike.  Interesting to observe that the evolution of the “equipment” on the bike parallels that of my fueling strategy – see related posts here, here and here.  In this handlebar bag, in the early stages of my fueling evolution I would carry a water bottle and small cut-up pieces of wheat bagel, as shown below.

I did this for some weeks or months, then upon discovering Hammer Nutrition, I switched to carrying Hammer Gel in the trunk bag and, at first, a single water bottle & my phone in the handlebar bag and then, more recently, 2 32-oz water bottles in the bag (one with plain water, one with Perpetuem).

Below is the picture of the handlebar bag from the early use (V3):

After a time, I had the handlebars changed to an extended and adjustable handlebar stem, in response to some hand issues I was experiencing at the time.  The below recent picture shows this and is representative of the “equipment” I used on the bike for some time until very recently (“Baby V4.0”).

Recently, then, I’ve made a number of small changes/improvements to the bike.  Below is a picture of the bike as she currently rolls:

First change is that I’ve finally started carrying a small air pump (along with spare tube in the bag) on the frame, following my first flat.  I’ve also removed the water bottle cage which was there, since I carry 2×32 oz in my handlebar bag.  The pump fixture still allows the cage to be reconnected if needed.  See below.

Second is that I bought a slightly nicer handlebar bag that I am quite happy with.  The other one was never a true handlebar bag – it was actually a bag from an old camcorder – and it was very finicky in terms of balancing on the bike.  If I needed to take it off for whatever reason – cleaning, taking the bike to the shop, or anything else – it was VERY high maintenance trying to then get the bag correctly balanced with the 2 bottles.  It tried to flop around and favor one side of the bike to the other.  This new bag works great and feels locked to the bar, just as you want.

Additionally, I retired that small trunk bag (which also was not made for bikes – it was from a portable shave kit :)) and instead replaced it with 2 of the exact same bags that now sit on the handlebars – so on the rack these act as baby-sized panniers.  I am VERY happy with these – they don’t add much weight to the bike and can carry a great deal more than that little bag could.  Spare tube & tire-repair kit, plenty of fuel, spare phone battery, wallet if needed, even a change of clothes can all fit in here.  Very convenient little bags.

Finally, when I got my flat tire fixed at my LBS, I also replaced the well-worn tires, which were nearing the end of their functional lives, with smaller ones – 38’s versus 46’s.  I like these new tires a lot – less road friction, better acceleration, still solid handling for this bike & my body weight.  Much better than my old tires.

Below, a more close-up picture of the handlebar bag.  It still has a very small downside in that I secure its zippers to the bar with rubber bands, which is somewhat ghetto, but it works very well & much better than the old bag.

And below, a closer picture of one of the baby panniers on the rack.

Finally, a top angle showing the now-clear rack, the two panniers, and the new tire.  The rack being “empty” means that I can well add a trunk bag/box back there should I want/need to do so for longer rides, giving me plenty of space for stuff.

Also I still have the more full-sized panniers that I used on my first Prairie Spirit Trail ride (this post) which can be pressed into action as needed.

In all, I’m super satisfied with the modifications to the bike, as I continue my evolution toward being a “true” cyclist 🙂

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