Thursday, June 18, 2015

Speaking of Popes

"I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope."
     --Jeb Bush, responding to Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change

    --Josef Stalin, replying to a suggestion that the Soviet Union should propitiate the Pope


Monday, June 15, 2015

Almost Summer Velo News

The biggest velo news of the season is a new bike--a Norco VFX3.  It's a hybrid and about seven pounds lighter than the Schwinn Sierra mountain bike I've been riding since 1988.  My primary motivation was weight.  Every ride ends with me carrying my bike up a flight of stairs, a task that seems to have grown more onerous in recent years,especially since last fall's hip surgery.  The the rear fork cracked three years ago and, although the weld has held up since then, I've always wondered if something more serious might go and leave me smeared on the pavement.

I began looking for a replacement a couple of months ago in the Olympia's local bike shops.  After test riding several, I settled on the Norco as the best combination of features and price.  I picked it up on June 5 and have ridden 59 miles since. 

The Norco rides differently than my Schwinn.  The skinny tires feel light on the pavement which is mostly okay but I also feel less anchored  than I did on the mountain bike.  That will take some getting used toClimbing hills is easier, the granny gears have a lower ratio than the Schwinn.  Sunday's ride was my longest so far--27 miles--and included four steep climbs.  I can't say that I breezed through it all but I could feel the difference.   My average speed was 10.8, my best in a long, long time.  Even averaging 10 on the Schwinn was a rare occurrence lately. 

The brakes are very good and don't squeak.  At the end of my ride, the Norco is much easier to carry up the stairs.

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