It’s been exactly three months since I’ve thrown a leg over and navigated a beloved steel framed bicycle. That’s how long it’s taken for me to recover from my unfortunate mishap involving a ladder and my fibula. But once I got my doctor’s go-ahead to begin cycling again, I was anxious to get back out on the road, although also strangely apprehensive.
The last time I was on my bike was in Central Oregon’s fall glory, enjoying the dry climate and the very nice bike paths leading to Benham Falls. I was riding my Terry, feeling slightly under the weather due to a dodgy restaurant experience earlier in the day. But, once my riding buddy and I arrived at the Falls, all was well with the world. The bike paths were strewn with slippery pine needles which kept getting caught in my “over the top” fenders, but this was less worrisome than the gravel portion of the journey over lava rock and loose gravel. Fortunately, the Terry handled well, with its 32mm Pasela’s and great frame geometry.
So, for my first adventure back in the saddle I decided to ride my 1987 Panasonic MC 7500 commuter bike. It is a very forgiving bicycle, although a bit tall due to its high bottom bracket. Before my leg injury I had installed some new tires on this bike to replace the heavy Specialized Armadillo tires, which had literally split at the seams, with something a little nicer – Compass McClure Pass 26 x 1.5 ” tires.
I had been riding these tires for a few months before my mishap and was looking forward to reporting on their ride quality, which I can now do. These tires have allowed me to ride in one higher gear overall, as compared to the Armadillo tires I previously used. They feature a bit of a tread pattern which can help on non-paved surfaces, and are very responsive and comfortable. I’m sold! I also wanted to provide an update on the Velo Orange freewheel hub which I used to replace the failed Quando sealed bearing rear hub – a hub which failed after only about a thousand miles of use. My new VO is working perfectly, and shaved some weight off the bike due to its drilled flanges.
I use the Panasonic a lot for around town errands. To make this bike a little more comfortable I added a Cardiff leather saddle, replacing the the old vintage Avocet touring saddle I was using. I like the Cardiff saddle as a Brooks alternative – the saddle rails are a bit longer allowing for greater adjustment nuances, and there is something about its shape and geometry that seems to work well for me. My first ride today went very well. I didn’t experience any mysterious lapses in “bike memory”, nor did I have trouble climbing or descending. Although it is winter, I’m looking forward to some enjoyable riding on the warmer and drier days which can sometimes appear unexpectedly. See you out there!