I took the Orbea out yesterday afternoon and rode a few small, local hills in the vicinity of my neighborhood. The ride was fairly easy and just under 20 miles. Magellan Cyclo 550 reports my average speed was 15.8 mph and my fastest 31.2. Riding along suburban and country roads, one of my eyes is weeping due, I think, to allergies. More salt water mixing with my sweat and blown back behind me like the windshield of an automobile spritzed by its hood-mounted washers seen from behind while under way. So much sweat that no one who sees me will wonder, “Why is he crying? If he feels that way about it, he shouldn’t be riding.”
When I started riding roadbikes, I pedaled the Razesa mostly on the small front chainring – about 42 teeth, I think, not 39. Slowly and heavily I lumbered when riding on the big front ring. So much so, that I only rarely tried it except when barreling downhill.
Since getting the Orbea, the cranset of which is not compact at 53/39, I’ve made it my goal to ride only the big chainring except during steeper climbs. A young woman of my acquaintance has a blog entitled something like “Life on the Big Chainring.” She and her husband race their bikes and are way more serious about cycling than I am, but that title is what inspired me to make the decision to adapt to my bike’s gearing and not worry about trying to find a Campagnolo Record 10-speed compact crank. The recreational budget savings and hopefully strength and endurance gains I make should be worth whatever pain I endure to realize them.
As for making use of what I’ve got – I’ve taken the MKS Lambda pedals (remember, they’re the ones that resemble Gimli’s axe-head from the Lord of the Rings films) off the Supernova and put them on the Starship. And what about these science-fiction and space phenomenon bike names, anyway?
The Orbea came with a set of Shimano SPD pedals, and I’d already got an even older pair of SPD pedals from odds-and-ends sale in the neighborhood. While at Asheville, North Carolina, middle of last month, I bought a set of cleats thinking I’d try out those older pedals with my ancient Shimano SPD cycling shoes. I threw away the shoes’ hardware with the box long ago, never intending to clip-in. What I seem to have thrown away in addition to the cleats that came with the shoes were the cleat nuts that go inside the shoe, under the insole. So, I have ordered some from Amazon.
During yesterday’s ride, I found I was able to ride up hills without too much difficulty and without having to resort to the bailout cog (26, 29 teeth – which is why the deraileur cage is on the long side, I think). Also, increased pedaling effort seems to result in forward motion more easily than when riding either the Miyata 610 or the Jamis Supernova. Maybe it is that while riding the Starship, I am more willing to make a greater effort when pedaling? Possibly. As the chart at the top of the post indicates, though, I’m not a very fast cyclist on flats or hills.
Some sad news is that I’ll have to sell my Bridgestone MB4 and very likely the Miyata 610 to make room in the garage for my more modern bicycles and to a small extent offset their cost.