Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kogswell P/R first ride

I made sure I finish the build yesterday so I can go on a ride today with the P/R. This morning we got off to a pretty early start and were out of the door by 6:30AM. We ascend the Berkeley Hills via a route that goes on Oxford (and a few smaller side street) and Michigan and ends up near the top of Spruce. With 36T in the front and 32T as my lowest gear in the back, I was able to climb up the last stretch of Michigan Ave--20% grade--with the usual struggle. Once we were on Wildcat Canyon Road--a relatively flat rolling road--I tested to see if i can ride with no hand easily. Even with bumpy pavement, riding no-handed was pretty simple.

Descending on the other side of Wildcat Canyon was a treat, as the wide tires really do their part to grab on to the road at corners, although i noticed that the p/r doesn't go nearly as fast as my Romulus on descent.

Pump House grade is next, which is a long steady climb; M. disappeared out of sight fairly soon. I dropped down to the lowest gear and spun up; even though the bike is heavier than my romulus and has bigger tires, it edges me forward and seemed to require a little less effort. Happy Valley Road is a steeper climb, again, M. left me soon on the climb, and I felt that the P/R is an inferior climber to my Romulus on these steeper climb. The other side of Happy Valley is a long decline into Lafayette, which the P/R handled with ease and provide tons of fun.

The next section is a fairly long but very moderate climb on Moraga Road toward Moraga. The road has constant car traffic (though they weren't really that fast) and the shoulder is not too wide. The Kogswell can maintain a straight line very easily and with short crankarms i was able to get a rhythm spinning. On this section i felt Kogswell's light-gauge tubing really shined. M. usually leaves me behind on these long climbs, but today I was able to keep up, and even edged ahead slightly. The 155mm-crankarms actually work quite well despite my original concerns.

We took a bathroom break at the trail head of Lafayette-Moraga Trail and I snapped some photos. After eating some Gu, we headed toward Pinehurst, the final climb of the day. Pinehurst is one of our favorite for its beauty and also the nice combination of terrains. The first section is almost all under the canopy of a forest with a quaint school and a post office on the side of the road and a very gradual incline. The last section is a 1.5-mile climb that gets steep after a hairpin turn. I was a little tired at the last steep pitch and dropped down to the lowest gear and spun. The Kogswell did well, despite its heavy and wide tires.

Overall, I really enjoyed ride. I had to adjust the handlebar height/tilt and saddle position because my hands went numb a few times during the ride, which rarely happened even when I was using the sparrow bar on the il pompino. When I came back, I cleaned the bike from the slight drizzle and thick fog on the road, and adjusted the brakes to take out some of the mushiness in them. I also installed fenders so they are a little more weather proof. I have to figure out how to attach the Ostrich handlebar bag onto the Nitto M-12 rack securely still. Next on the list of things to do is to change out the 36T ring for a 34T, and maybe get a pair of nicer pedals than the old SR road quills I had on it (one pedal is missing dust cap, though they were spinning pretty smoothly still). I will wait till Kogswell production porteur rack to come out before deciding on porteur rack options.
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