11 September 2010
Helene's First Changes
I've done a few rides on Helene. Actually, they felt more like gliding: The frame is nearly as responsive as Arielle and Tosca, my other two Mercians, but is also comfortable without feeling too cushy.
However, there are two small changes I need to make. The Guidonnet (Contraty to popular rumor, they're not what Snooki would ride--if indeed she cycled.) brake levers and the bar-end shifters aren't quite to my liking.
The brake levers actually don't allow me to use the Porteur bars in the way I'd hoped. The clamp doesn't allow for the use of the forward part of the bar--at least, not for someone with hands like mine. And, the swept-back part of the bar I like is in a nether-world between the brake and shift levers: I can reach neither easily. And, finally, using the bar-end shifters has turned out to be more awkward than I anticipated.
Please understand that I am not making judgments on the quality or design of the Guidonnet levers or the bar-end shifter (an old Sun Tour ratcheted Bar-Con). They simply aren't suitable for the way the bike is configured or the way I fit and ride it.
So, I've just ordered a pair of Silver Tektro inverse levers from Velo Orange. I have a feeling those will work better for me, and will still fit in with Helene's aesthetic. And, since they won't allow for the use of a bar-end shifter, I'm going to try a down-tube shifter. Reaching it from the porteur bar doesn't seem like it would be much more difficult than accessing Arielle's downtube shifters from the "hooks" on her drop bars. I really would like to avoid using a shifter mounted on top of the handlebar (a "thumb" shifter) because, it seems, they would rob me of one or two hand positions that I like.
Well, there's one thing I've learned: When you get to a certain age and make changes, some things fit differently (if they still fit!) . But when you have, essentially, the sort of ride--or life--these minor changes are like little adventures and learning experiences.