I’m still in the process of getting everything together to start bike commuting. If I lived closer to work, I don’t think it would have been such an ordeal. But this drive half/bike half has been a challenge.
Thursday I had to run my bike back in to the LBS where I bought it. After I took it in for its first well-bike check a couple weeks ago, the derailleur was slipping on two or three gears. I’d be pedaling, and all of a sudden it would shift itself to a lower gear, then back up, down, up… Annoying, and I was afraid it might do some damage (to what I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t seem like a good thing). I was surprised at how busy they were on a Thursday in the middle of the day (I had taken a couple days off from work), but one of the techs managed to get my bike in quickly, and had it all better in just a few minutes. He also lubed the chain, which surprised me because when I was in for the check up the previous week, the other guy had said it was fine. Puzzlement.
While I was there, I decided to finally get a rack and panniers. The girl I was talking to found a really nice pannier for me. I hadn’t heard of this brand before, it’s from a company called Banjo Brothers. That will link to the particular model I got, although mine looks a little different. The bottom is kind of tapered, not quite flat. The neat thing is it’s waterproof. There’s a removable inner liner for when it’s dry, which is good since they’re fairly heavy as these things go. They only had one in the shop but ordered another one over from their warehouse (or somewhere) for me.
So that’s good, but if you’ve never installed a bike rack before, let me just warn you that these things do not come with directions, and so I found myself with a bag full of parts that I had no idea what to do with. Nothing seemed designed to fit on my bike, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to use it. When the shop called the next day (yesterday) to say my second pannier was in, I had them put me through to one of the techs and told him my tale of woe trying to get this rack on. He thought he could have it installed for me fairly quickly, which I didn’t doubt, so I arranged to take it back in this morning to have the rack installed and pick up the second pannier. Long story longer, I ended up with a unique attachment. Apparently with all the variations in bike styles, there is no one-size-fits-all with racks. It took him probably close to an hour to get this thing on, so I didn’t feel quite so lame for having to bring it in and pay to have it done! In addition to this, he spent some time showing me a few other helpful things about the bike, showed me again how to get the back wheel off and on (that back brake can be tricky) and how to double-check that it’s seated right again. These guys have been great. I guess they figure I’m a dumb girl, so I play along and ask all kinds of questions. Anything you want me to ask them for you? 🙂
Anyway, on Monday I plan to drive to work, and haul in the last few items I need to keep at work that I won’t want to carry on the bike on a daily basis, but Tuesday I plan to actually do the ride. I admit I am more than a little apprehensive about certain sections of road (the overpass to get to I-5 is particularly treacherous during rush hour, people pull some wild stunts to beat the next guy to the on-ramp). We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I should get my last will and testament in order before then…