Pandemic Stress Release: A Few Product Reviews

I’ve been thinking about the different ways people cope with stress as we go through this difficult and unprecedented (for most of us) time.  For me, cycling, walking, gardening, and having the opportunity to work have helped a great deal.  But, when all of that fails, it’s time to go shopping!

First up was a pedal replacement for my 1975 Centurion Semi-Pro.  The bike came to me with these amazing Barelli Supreme cartridge bearing pedals, which were designed for toe clips.  As I no longer ride with toe clip pedals, I removed them and installed some low-end Wellgo pedals that were sitting around in my shop.  While moderately acceptable, I wanted to find some quality pedals that could provide more comfort for my aging feet, which have become sensitive to pedal pressure points.

After looking around for options I settled on these Velo-Orange Touring pedals.  I was looking for a pedal that was of medium size, durable, and with good grip for rain riding, as well as offering a better distribution of weight across the pedal body and cage.  As you can see from the above photo, these pedals feature two adjustable pins on the outside of the pedal plus ridges on the cage to help lock your shoes in place.  You can easily pop out the reflectors, but since I love reflectors, I left them there.

They install with an Allen wrench, not a 15mm pedal wrench.  As with many cartridge bearing systems, the pedals did not spin as freely when initially installed, as cup and cone pedals will.  But, I’ve been cycling with them for about a week now and they have loosened up a bit.  Most importantly, they are amazingly comfortable pedals, offering support for my whole foot, not just around the cage.  My feet are happier.

Next up was a saddlebag for the R. Ducheron bike I’ve been restoring.  The bike has no rack braze-ons.  With its beautiful new paint job (see below), I decided not to even consider mounting a rear rack with clamps.  The bike has a small custom front rack designed to support a rando bag, but for my kind of riding, I needed a more substantial bag to handle errands, commuting, and shopping.

Cue this Carradice Cadet saddlebag, which I purchased from Ben’s Cycle, located in Milwaukee and established in 1928 and now owned by the third generation of the family.  Ben’s is a wonderful online source for many cycling related products.

I wanted a saddlebag that would not be wider than the bars, but would still hold all that I needed.  A tall order, for sure, but this Carradice Cadet bag fills the bill with its 13 litres of interior space.  The bag closes with a draw string, and the cavernous area is best organized with smaller containers for tools and supplies.  But, it meets my requirements and will be put to good use, being also waterproof.

A related product is these V-O saddlebag loops which clamp on to the saddle rails.  I was surprised that my Rebour-blessed Ideale saddle didn’t have loops, but fear not:  these V-O loops when installed look like they have always been there.

Next up:  a wax/polish product designed for restorers of vintage machines.  I first heard about Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish from one of my favorite sites:  VintageBicycles.com.

I’ve been working on a number of projects lately, including a 1977 Jack Taylor tandem, as well as the R. Ducheron bike featured above.  I’ve been looking for a product that would help to preserve these older machines.  This wax/polish was initially formulated by the British Museum’s research lab as an alternative to regular wax which contains beeswax and carnuba, both of which contain acids which can harm a painted finish over time.  At least that’s its claim.

In practice, this wax will make any already nice paint look show-stopping.  The above photo is the R. Ducheron frame after a few applications of Renaissance wax.

So, I wondered how this wax would work on a highly compromised frame, such as the above 1970’s Mercian.  These before and after photos show that Renaissance wax/polish does help to revitalize faded colors, in addition to protecting the the finish over time.  I’m going to try out the wax on the 1977 Jack Taylor tandem I’ve been (slowly) restoring.  More info to come!

2 thoughts on “Pandemic Stress Release: A Few Product Reviews

  1. Renaissance Wax is also good for protecting bare metal. So, if you have removed flaky chrome and polished the steel underneath to a bright finish, protect it with this wax.

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