It’s that time of the month when I find the smallest crumb of a reason to buy shit for my bicycle. After all, I wouldn’t just go and do something that didn’t make sense…would I? No, of course not. I’m a reasonable man, and unfortunately that means finding the reason is easy. For instance, if you stare at your cable housings long enough you’ll be absolutely certain that they’re at least a couple of millimeters shorter than Sheldon Brown would approve of. Maybe you ride out to the most solitary place nearby and if you listen hard enough you can hear that there’s something definitely wrong with the 3rd cog in your cassette. Start paying way too much attention to your pedaling and you’ll be convinced that your 175mm crank arms absolutely must be replaced with 172.5mm crank arms if you’re going to operate at your ideal cadence. It’s easy to do, and it’s fun to do, so I do it. Luckily, my taste doesn’t extend into the ultra-high-dollar world of carbon fiber or I’d really be in trouble. I can only imagine how much money my fear of being impaled by a shard of plastic has saved me. Hooray.
Since I feel like giving you a really good look at the depth of my insanity, here’s a little story about what happened when I wanted to replace my headlight. Be prepared, this is pretty stupid. About this time last year, I ordered a pair of 150 lumen LED flashlights and handlebar mounts and they were lovely. Well, they were lovely until the nastiness of winter really took hold and I was commuting home in very dark and very wet conditions. The flashlights were bright, but they were really just spotlights and didn’t give me a very good view of the road. I’d also have to charge the batteries every third or fourth day, which was a minor annoyance. Considering these things, I came to the conclusion that I needed a dynamo lighting system. I started looking at Peter White’s website, learned everything I could, and determined that the B&M Lumotec IQ Fly was the cat’s pajamas for me. Not the most expensive, but still excellent, so I happily ordered one. Of course, then I needed a new front wheel with the actual dynamo hub to power my light. I found a new wheel on craigslist that was black (my other wheels were silver), but a pretty good deal so I bought it. Everything was lovely (and well-lit) until I decided I could no longer stand having one silver wheel and one black wheel. Ok, so then I had my LBS build me a black wheel for the back. OK, lovely…for a few months. That’s when I decided my black wheels and black tires meant too much black all in one place. I ended my suffering by ordering some terracotta-colored tires to get things back in balance, which is where you find me now. To recap, that’s around $100 for the flashlights/mounts, $90 for the dyno headlamp, $100 for the dyno front wheel, $200 for the hand-built rear wheel, and $120 for the terracotta tires. Feel like puking? Yeah, me too. If you really want to shit-twice-and-die, sometime I’ll tell you about how that debacle lead me to buy a new frame and build up another bike. I’ll just be tearing my face off in embarrassment if anyone needs me. I really shouldn’t be allowed to use money.
Oh yeah, I was going to tell you about the stuff I just bought. I hardly want to now that my soul is bare for all the world to see. In any case, I picked up some Soma Interrupter Levers, which are a wicked bitch to install but quite nice to use once they are. I used the install as an excuse to try a different kind of wrap for my handlebars as well; I did a full wrap with cork tape, then a full wrap with cotton tape, then twined the ends and shellacked the whole thing. You can see in the photo that it came out pretty well. That it came out well shouldn’t be surprising, because it was the most time-consuming thing that anyone has ever done in the history of human civilization. It’s the best wrap I’ve ever ridden, and it better last for at least 5 years or I’m going to light my bicycle on fire.