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June 17, 2005

Bicycle as blank canvas

As I've mentioned on a couple of occasions, I've been having a great time lately riding my bike (and have just started riding to work -- today is the second day I've done so). But a more recent discovery for me is that part of the fun of having a bike is modifying it and personalizing it. My bike is nothing special: a pretty basic hybrid bike. But as I've spent more time on it, it's become clear that some changes were necessary for my comfort over long distances. To that end, I replaced the saddle, pedals, and tires, and did a couple of practical things, like adding a rack so I can carry some stuff with me.

But the basic hybrid handlebar -- calculated to allow an upright riding position, with a pretty extreme rise and sweep -- actually doesn't work well for me over distances of more than a few miles becaus I can't change the position of my hands. I needed something that would let me grip the bars in different places. So I decided to experiment with a "trekking" handlebar, which has a shape that allows multiple grip options. I was a bit wary of making this change myself, but thanks to the wonders of the internet and my firm belief that a bicycle just isn't that complicated a machine, I took the plunge. Here are the results:

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These have helped my wrists immensely so far, which is just what I wanted. But the other thing I love about these bars is how unique they make my bike look. I love the dorky, slightly alien look of the trekking bars, all tricked out in their funky bar tape. The bike is really mine now, tailored specifically to me in a visible way.

Posted by at June 17, 2005 12:08 PM