Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three Tweaks in One Week

There's nothing quite like a new drive train. After thousands of miles beneath the wheels of my Bianchi commuter, the chain started slipping under power on every climb. While it's always painful to spend money replacing parts, a new drive train makes an old bike feel brand new again and it sure costs less than a new transmission!

When I was forced to use duct tape to secure BOTH of my winter shoe covers after the left zipper failed me, I realized it was time to shop for a new way to keep my toes warm in these harsh temperatures. My research suggested that winter boots like these amazing offerings from 45NRTH or these from Lake would be the best option, but my budget (and global warming) led me to these simple Pearl Izumi shoe covers. The sleek form and velcro closures indicate an improvement over my previous Performance covers, but time (and long, long rides in cold, cold weather) will tell.

The bike and my wardrobe were not the only things that got tuned up this week. While being fitted for a pair of new glasses with (gulp) progressive bifocal lenses, my doctor asked if I ever wore contacts.

"Why yes," I explained, "it's common for me to wear contacts during my long bicycle adventures."

"Do you ever need to read anything at close range?" he continued.

"Only at night, in the rain, after 2 hours of sleep, and by the light of a dim headlamp," I replied.

Luckily, he had just the thing. Apparently, as a result of some fairly complex brain wiring, humans can wear contact lenses of different strengths in each eye to see both close and far at the same time. The brain simply makes adjustments. The doctor determined that I should wear one of my typical long distance contacts on my dominant right eye and a less powerful contact on my non-dominant left eye for up-close reading at 2 or 3 feet. This arrangement theoretically allows me to see both the road up ahead and the directions at handlebar height that will enable me to get there. Today was my trial run and I'm pleased to report that all systems seem to be GO.

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