Got Whitey together and serviced enough to take him for a ride today. Did my Mixed Loop Route in Ferndale, along the Nooksack River. It’s my goto local ride and a good place for a first ride. Mostly because if something goes desperately wrong it’s an easy walk or an easy call for help, but secondly it has a bit of everything, pavement, gravel, sand, usually mud, and even a few roots.
Whitey turned out to be the bike I hoped he would be. The perfect fit, not too big, not too small. Also quick and nimble, some of which might me attributed to the Schwalbe Big Ben tires, but mostly I think it has to be attributed to the bike itself; it’s geometry. Riding Whitey is like riding a nimble road bike, but one that is disguised as a rigid mountainish bike. From the looks, it is a rigid steel mountain bike like my Early Stumpjumper, or my commuter bike, but with disc brakes. Though from the ride feel Whitey is not as ponderous as them. Whitey is a nimble road bike on the road and a quick handling mountain bike on the trail. Whitey appears to be the perfect bike for just running around on, a bike that is capable of handling whatever you feel like doing, in other words Whitey is exactly the bike for which I was looking.
For the perfect bike, I also needed the perfect tires and as I mentioned above, Whitey’s new tires are Schwalbe Big Bens. I considered going with the Schwalbe Hurricanes that work so well for mixed stuff, but I was looking for a tire that would handle wet roads, especially cornering on wet roads better than the Hurricanes because I anticipate that Whitey will spend the majority of his life on pavement. I did want a tire that’d handle some offroad too without being too fragile or being severely limited on traction. I have a few longer rides in mind that have a mix of gravel, rocks and pavement. So, after only 9 miles of riding, the Big Ben tires look like a good match for Whitey. They were fast and quiet on the pavement and I was pleasantly surprised with how well they did on roots and even some mud. I am sure I will have more to say about them down the road.
Also gone on Whitey are those absolutely horrendous Grip-Shifters. In my book, Grip-Shifters are an abomination not to be tolerated. I immediately scoured Ebay and found a nice used set of XTR Rapidfire Shifters/Brake Levers. Ebay can be a Godsend sometimes. So while everything in the shifting department was grand, we will wait and see when it comes to the gearing, it was fine on this route and this day. Down the road/trail, who knows?
Oh, and as for the big mess that the trolls left under the bridge? Well, a couple of high water events has swept the mess under the rug, or out to sea and out of sight. Nothing but lightly trodden mud and some perma-graffiti left for us tourists.
In the future, more big adventures from Whitey.