03 April 2017

A New Day, A New Wrap

Yesterday I managed to get in a nice ride along the coasts, from my place to the Rockways and Coney Island, along the Verrazano Narrows and up to Hipster Hook back to my place.

The morning was overcast but the afternoon turned bright and clear, if windy.  So I wasn't surprised to see strollers, dog-walkers and, yes, cyclists along the boardwalks and on the promenade under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Vera, my green Miss Mercian mixte, went for the ride, in part because I wanted to ride a bike with fenders:  There is still a lot of crud and "ponds" in the streets, courtesy of last week's snow and the rain we have had during much of the time since that storm.   If you have seen Vera in previous posts, you might see another reason why I wanted to take her out today:

Yes, I swapped the handlebars from Velo Orange Porteurs (which are on another of my bikes) for Nitto "Noodle bar".  The latter is my first choice for drop bars.  I wanted to try Vera with drops because she had them when I first acquired her.  Although I have liked her ride with the Porteurs, I have always had a feeling that she was designed for drop bars.

Also, I wanted to try some new handlebar tape:

I used two rolls of Newbaum's tape:  one in burnt orange, the other in khaki.  I chose Newbaum's tape for the colors and because I am curious as to how it might be different from other brands of cloth tape I've used.

I wrapped the bars in khaki, leaving gaps wide enough to be over-wrapped with the burnt orange.  Then, I finished the ends with regular jute twine I found in a Dollar Tree store.


After wrapping the bars, I gave them four light coats of clear shellac.  Although this wrap doesn't have the "sheen" I've seen on some other shellacked bars, I like the look:  The clear shellac darkened the colors slightly.  Also, even though it has a "harder" feel than un-shellacked (Is that a word?) tape, the tape retained much of its texture, which makes for a nice grip.  I think the "feel" may have to do with the fact that the Newbaum's tape is a bit thicker than other brands (Velox, Tressostar, Cateye) I've used. 

It will take a few rides, I think, to decide whether I like this kind of handlebar wrap.  I used to like regular, un-shellacked cloth, but it seemed that I had to replace it every season.  Then again, I could say the same for Cinelli (or any other brand of) cork wrap. 

The burnt orange, while not an exact match, is surprisingly close to the color of the Ruth Works rando bag on the front.  The bag has, of course, developed a bit of patina.  I imagine that if I keep on riding with this new tape, it will develop a similar "character" and perhaps be even more similar to the color of the bag.

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