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Friday
Mar302007

Recovery Report

I’ve been getting quite a few emails recently concerning my recovery from my accident last December. Here’s an update on my progress.

The biggest problem was that I damaged a nerve in my right eye and it left me with severe double vision. The nerve controls the movement of that eye.

A few days ago, I got up in the morning and found my vision was almost normal. Naturally, I was extremely exited about this sudden and quite dramatic improvement, but it turned out to be short lived. After being up for an hour or so, the double vision returned.

Since then this re-occurs every morning, I can see normally on waking but it only lasts a short time. However, I feel this is a definite good sign that something good is happening and permanent normal vision will return eventually.

I am riding my bike about three times a week. When I do, I use a thin strip of black tape stuck to the right lens of my glasses, which cuts out the double vision, but allows me to see off to the side. In other words I don’t have a blind spot that a complete eye patch would cause.

Thanks again to everyone for the well wishes; these are greatly appreciated. I will keep you posted on my progress from time to time.

Wednesday
Mar282007

See you at the Cirque?


I have just signed up to attend this year’s Cirque du Cyclisme vintage bicycle rally held in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 8, 9 and 10.

I attended last year for the first time and it was great meeting old friends I hadn’t seen in years. I also made many new friends, including some I had previously corresponded with through email. It’s always nice to put a face with a name.

I'm looking forward to the same this year.

Sunday
Mar252007

Cord Whipping Handlebars


My profound thanks go out to Ben Spencer from Seattle who sent me a really nice pair of Cinelli, Giro d’Italia handlebars to replace the ones I had bent.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning to install them before heading out for a twenty-five mile ride. I decided to stay with the blue tape because it goes with my blue tires.

After wrapping the bars, normally I would have done what many people do, and reach for the black electricians tape to finish off. However, this time I decided to spend a little extra time and finish off by cord whipping with some black cord.

If you haven’t tried this, it is not that difficult. Make a loop with the cord, and hold it with one hand under the bars while you start winding the chord over it. Once you get a couple of turns over the loop, it will hold itself in place.

Start at the center ferule and wind back over the tape. I usually stop the tape and cut it about a quarter inch short of the ferule, otherwise it gets too bulky with the cord over it. You want the cord to sit neatly against the ferule so that you start winding nice and square.

When you have enough cord to cover the end of the tape, (Usually about an inch.) put the end of the cord through the loop and pull on the other end. Don’t pull it all the way trough, but stop when the end is tucked neatly under the winding.

Trim the ends of the cord with a sharp knife, and apply several coats of clear urethane over the cord to waterproof and to help seal it so it doesn’t come unraveled. It is advisable to place some masking tape either side of the cord whipping so you don’t get urethane all over the ferule and handlebar tape.

I had a hard time finding black cord, and what I found was quite thin. It would have been easier and probably have looked neater if the cord was a little thicker.

It occurred to me after; I could have used fine round string and painted over it with black paint instead of using clear urethane. You can buy tiny jars of enamel paint at the hobby shop in any color you wish.

Wednesday
Mar212007

Aligning Handlebars

It can sometimes be difficult to get your handlebars aligned square with the front wheel; especially if the handlebar stem is tapered. Here is the way I always do it.

Hold the square end of a twelve-inch steel ruler against the center ferule of the handlebars, this gives you the long edge of the ruler to sight up with the edge of the front tire.

Sunday
Mar182007

100 Blogs

This is the 100th. Blog I have written since I started in November 2005; it is fitting that it should be on a happy note.

Today I went for a modest ten-mile ride on my re-assembled bike, just 93 days after my accident last December. I might have gone a little further but it was extremely windy and I didn’t want to over-do it on my first ride.

There was one set back during re-assembly; I switched handlebar stems from 11 cm. to a 9 cm. In doing so, I noticed my handlebars were bent from the accident; I had failed to notice it before. As you can see from the picture, (Left) the right side, nearest the camera, is pushed back and the bottom of the drops are no longer parallel.

It was no wonder that my right hand was so badly bruised in the accident. My hand was on the brake hood at the time I hit the side of the SUV. The impact through my hand was enough to twist the handlebars.

I realized finding a replacement handlebar would delay the re-build for at least a week, even two. Initially this was a huge disappointment, then I decided to go ahead and as a purely temporary measure make do with the damaged bar. My first few rides are going to be very gentle, close to home, and I won’t be putting a lot of stress on the handlebars.

In the mean time I am now on the look out for a pair of Cinelli “Giro de Italia” 24 - 40 or similar. 26.4 ferrule.

This frame being a centimeter smaller than my previous one, my stem is a centimeter lower, but I now have 2 cm. shorter reach due to switching to a shorter stem. The position felt comfortable this morning when I rode, I had felt a little stretched on my other bike.

I had previously set the bike up the same as I had it since the 1970s. I have come to realize that I have to make concessions for a body that is not as young and supple as it once was.