01 January 2014

Blog post ichiban

Happy New Year! Well, almost. Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I'm determined to get this blog up and running by then, so I'm writing this post now. Q: Was "starting a blog" my resolution this year? A: Plausible.
Anyway, let me preface this with a disappointing fact: The name of the blog implies that I am writing this from overseas, while the harsh reality is that this very minute I am very much on U.S. soil. I know, I know- false advertisement. But don't touch that dial! The Mrs. and I are just here for the holidays, and then we will be flying back to Japan shortly hereafter. And besides, we're staying in Portland, OR which apparently is American bicycling mecca.
Next topic: take a look at this-
Univega Safari 10

 I'm generally a fan of lugged steel bikes, and I'll overlook many other issues if I can find one in good condition. This particular one is older than any others I own, but it was largely rust-free, the tubes held air, and it was $100 on craigslist. I wiped it down, lubed the chain, and went for a nice ride... thusly bringing to my attention the aforementioned over-looked issues:
  1. Weight. Yes, steel is heavy, but this is heavy. Not as bad as the 70's Schwinns, but this guy makes hills challenging.
LIGHT is an acronym for something, because it doesn't describe any attributes of this bike.
2. Steel rims. Apparently, these 10-speeds came standard with steel rims, the virtues of which I have yet to discover. What I do know of them is that braking takes awhile; unless it's raining, in which case you might as well not count on stopping.

You can shave with these things. Also: dry rot tires, still holding on!
3.  Cottered cranks. This last issue isn't so much an issue once you learn how they work. I haven't learned how they work yet, but sheldonbrown.com says to hit them with a hammer from time to time, and so far that has been working.

So, nothing wrong with this bike that isn't typical of most 70s/80s 10-speeds, but it's definitely a departure from the relatively modern ones I'm accustomed to. I was really just looking for a budget bike to get around on while here in the States, and having previously owned a Univega, I knew they were mostly manufactured in Japan and decent bikes all-around. If I were going to be riding this more often I would probably switch out the saddle for a Brooks, replace the foam grips with proper handlebar tape, and get some aluminum wheels on this thing; but, for now, it stays as-is.

Last things last, I would like to thank the writers out there who have inspired me to get this blog going. In no particular order: Constance Winters of Lovely Bicycle!, Kent from Kent's Bike Blog, and Alan from the now-retired EcoVelo. If any of you eventually read this, my sincerest apologies.

No comments:

Post a Comment