Snow Drop

18 Feb

It is no secret that I love bikes.   My love does not translate into an ability to do anything practical with them.  A few years ago, I found a beautiful pair of pink, rhinestone levers.  I loved them and as soon as they arrived, I begged Mr. to put them on my bike immediately.   When he didn’t drop everything to do my bidding, I was left with only one choice – attempt to put the levers on myself.  It took me hours.  I had to take my bar ends, shifters, levers off the bar, then put on the new levers, and color-matched bar ends.  When I was finally finished I was ecstatic.  When Mr. came home, I showed him the results of my hard work.    Overall I did a great job, there were only a few minor problems.  The first was that I’d mixed up the order of brakes and shifters – I tried to convince Mr. that this was simply a matter of personal preference.  The second, was that I’d re-assembled everything with the front wheel 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

This was a turning point in our relationship.  It was the moment that Mr. realized he should just do what I ask immediately, so that I do not have time to screw it up more.

So what could possibly motivate me to throw caution to the wind and attempt a DIY upgrade on my bike?  Only one thing – a knocked box.   My last ride, on a particularly soft trail, I hit my kitten so often that I was afraid the SPCA might charge me with animal abuse.

I tried to draw a hilarious cartoon to illustrate the problem, but I failed art class for a reason.  I’ll try my best to describe the scenario.  Normally, when you have to stop your bike, you simply extend your leg and stand on one foot.  Easy peasy,  you’ve probably never even thought of it before, because when sitting on your bike your foot almost touches the ground, so there is no need to think about it..  Now, say you are on a snow bike, on a single track trail.  You decide to stop, and put your foot down.  But, ZOINK, your foot breaks through the snow and comes to a stop 4 inches below the surface.  Approximately 4 inches too far to stay on a bike seat.  What would have been a graceful move, is suddenly transformed into an awkward fall that results in knocking yourself against your seat OR even worse, losing your balance and knocking it against the top tube.

I decided that the perfect solution was a dropper post that would let me adjust the seat height when riding on super skinny singletrack.  Especially singletrack with soft shoulders.

The Mr. was coaching basketball this afternoon, so I decided to install my dropper post all by myself.  Step 1 was locating it, in and amongst a closet full of bikes.

 

Step 2 was to phone the bike shop and get Tristan to give me step by step instructions on what to do.

Step 3 was to try it out on an awesome ride.  I am thrilled to report that I was not ejected from my bike, nor did the seat spontaneously fall off.  In other words – enormous success!

 

I had this seat post on my all mountain bike, but never used it much.  I’m finding that on the snowbike there are far more opportunities to adjust seat height then on a regular mountain bike.  As the trail thins, or become soft or slippery, the lower seat can save your kitty.  But there’s also the regular dropper post advantages for climbing and descending.  Last, but not least,  I use the snow bike for commuting as well as singletrack riding.   I’ve often found myself aggravated when I start my morning commute and half way down the street I realize the seat’s too low, but I’m too cold to fix it.   On this ride,  I went from climbing to descending, hard packed to soft, double track to single track, and found myself taking advantage of my new toy.

The seat post I’m using is a Rase Black Mamba.  Not only was it conveniently sitting unused in my closet,  it also seemed like a good winter choice because it is fully mechanical.  That, and it sounds like something you’d buy at Adult Temptations, which never ceases to amuse me.   I was hopeful it wouldn’t be affected by the cold weather, but  this proved to be only partially true.  As I rode, the seat did become less responsive.  It still worked, but didn’t pop up at the same speed as when it was indoors.  But, even with this small hiccup, I really enjoyed it.  I’m confident that after a few additional modifications, including setting the correct seat height, this seat will become a permanent addition to my bike.