Forty Four miles this morning for my second ride in my personal version of the 2020 Tour de Whatcom, the plan where I ride each of the routes, 20, 40,60 & 100 mile routes over the course of the summer. It was pretty easy to connect the Raleigh Twenty to the 20 mile loop, but I had to think a bit longer on a connection to this route. Save for one hill, I was pretty happy with my choice of riding the mid-70’s Raleigh International (2020 – mid-70’s = 44 ;).
Riding out of Bellingham at 5:00am on a Sunday again was almost as eery as it was last week, almost because I did see one car between my start at Boundary Bay and my exit from town to the North. Along Marine Drive found an iPhone in the road right in the track where a cars passenger side tire would be running. The phone, now in the hands of it’s owner had been lost the night before, yet laying in the road had received nary a scratch. So, yeah, still dystopian down there in Bellingham.
I shouldn’t have been cautious about riding the International on this longish of a ride, but the ride was about 35 miles longer than the bike had been ridden in I don’t know how long so I was cautious just the same. This bike is no Walmart spec bike so with proper maintenance, it’s age is mostly irrelevant. One of the maintenance items I had to address after riding this the first time were the old dried out and cracking brake pads. I couldn’t find the exact replacement for the pads, so for now I settled for something close, which worked fine, but will continue to keep my eyes open for a better fit.
The ride went smooth and uneventful. Gearing on the one hill going up Douglas out of Ferndale was a challenge. It has been a long time since I’ve been forced to complete a climb by standing on the pedals. Usually I just click in a new lower gear, but this super tiny rear cluster mated to some big rings up front was all I had, though they were just fine for the rest of the ride’s terrain. Campagnolo friction shifting was good once I started to remember all of the sounds and feelings it takes to get the shifts right without the chain jumping up and down the gears. Another awkward thing I had to remember was that even though I can ride with my hands on the brake hoods, I couldn’t really do any significant braking without moving to the drops. I guess that is the way it used to be, not a problem, just different than now and a little weird to be looking like a racer riding through town just so I’d be ready with the bakes. Today’s brake levers with built in shifters is as much about safety around town as it is comfort and convenience.
Sans today’s modernities, I will say again that I do love riding this bikes frame. It is delicate, tough, supple, stiff and beautiful. I still am keeping my eyes out for something like this that I can Neo-Retro bike, the best of old and new.