I Rode the Litespeed Today

I rode the Litespeed, Sunday morning. It was quite the change from Big Red, Anne’s hybrid. The steering felt twitchy. Big Red has a handlebar bag that deadens its steering by comparison. I also have an inkling of why, even with the newer saddle on Big Red, I was still getting saddle sore. On the Litespeed, I’m more hunched over and much more of my weight is resting on the handlebars and not the seat. It is interesting that after only a week’s hiatus, the Litespeed seemed so foreign. I mean, I have ridden it almost continuously for ten years. I did notice that the new wheels roll a lot better than the old ones did. I noticed this the most, while coasting downhill. The free-wheel on these wheels is a lot quieter than the previous one was. The old one was unusually loud; this one is quite quiet, suitable for sneaking up on unsuspecting pedestrian in the wee hours of the morning, “PASSING ON YOUR BACK!”

The gearing came out much better than I had hoped for. I am not a skilled bike mechanic that can install a shift cable perfectly and instantly turn it over to a Tour de France racer. I work, through a series of successive approximations, like Newton’s method. I replaced both shift cables and derailleurs; I tested in on the bike stand, but didn’t take it for a test ride on Saturday, it was too hot. The front derailleur came out perfect, Tour de France quality. It shifts like butter. The rear derailleur was only pretty good. I could get into all of the gears, but the chain tended to skip a little bit in some of the gears. It was still quite ride-able. It finally dawned on me though what might be the problem.

I used the technique that I have used for over ten years to adjust the rear derailleur, but this derailleur has a fundamental difference from all the others. On all my other rear derailleurs, you always pushed up to get to a bigger sprocket and then clicked down to get to a small one. The front derailleur still works this way. This new rear derailleur works totally the opposite way. You click to go to a bigger sprocket and push to go to a smaller one. This reverses the way that I have always shifted. For you non-bikers, it would be akin to inverting the order the gears on the H, for a car’s stick shift. So maybe the way you set it up has changed too? I guess it is time to read the instructions.

Finally, there is the matter of my new bike computer. It is a Cat Eye and it has all sorts of bells and whistles. I mentioned yesterday that it has an altimeter, it also computes percent grade, but its coolest feature for this summer is its thermometer, “So hot is it?” Click-click-click “Let me tell you.” Anne sent along the beach picture posted here. That’s Lake Superior. The weather there was sunny alternating with clouds, with no storms or rain, at least yet. It looks a little leaden to me. I betcha it was cooler there though. I got 15 miles.

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