Yesterday I was prepping the bikes for winter, which seems finally to be getting its act together here on the North Coast.
One of the nine bullet points on my list when I bought the Trek Portland was “Room for my studded snow tires in the frame and fork”. It’s also no secret that as nice as studded snow tires are to have, on roads without snow, slush, and ice, they’re a big fat pain. (I was reminded of this today on a literal “dry run” of ten miles of errands.)
In winter, YellowBike, my backup three-seasons commuter, provides respite from pushing the darned snow tires on nice days. I tried just toughing it out, I tried changing tires with the weather, and I tried separate wheelsets. For me, a separate bike—fendered and racked—with three-season tires and KoolStop salmons works best.
Yesterday while washing YellowBike in prep for a coat of Bike Lust, I discovered a half-inch crack in the head tube. For several weeks I’ve thought it felt funny braking. Now I know why.
So I’m suddenly in the market for a new frameset. Since it’s to be the backup three-seasons commuter, and a bottom-of-the-line aluminum bike has proven to be just dandy in that role for the past six years, I’m looking at low-end aluminum road frames. Unfortunately, since YellowBike has a one-inch steerer, I’m also looking for a fork.
It’s too early to make a decision, but I’m strongly considering the Ribble Winter/Audax frame. It’ll tip the scales at about $275 for the frame, fork, and headset. (And about another $100 for cables, bottle cages, bar tape, and possibly a bottom bracket.) I’ll swap over the components, and give YellowBike an honorable retirement, hanging on the wall.
What gives me pause is that I never got even a return e-mail from that job I applied for last month. So a week from now I’ll be only partially employed. The library job pays all the bills—just barely—provided I don’t have any sick time or unpaid holidays (and barring any fiscal cliffs in Washington). My second job is the gravy.
I’m not in dire straits, but I’m also not thrilled with the prospect of tapping my savings in the first week of partial employment either. I’m likely to defer the decision as long as possible.