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The front wheel on my ’73 Schwinn Suburban is out of round, so until I either get a truing stand or get access to one, this bike is off the streets. I guess it happened last Thursday. I came out of work to find the front tire flat, so I changed it in the parking garage, then flatted again on my way home. When I changed the first flat in the garage, I didn’t find any debris in the tire, but on the second flat, there was a huge chunk of glass in the tire, so I picked that out and put my last tube in, then proceeded to pinch-flat that one, so I walked the last mile or so home. I’m not sure exactly when in this whole sequence the wheel got bunged up, but it did. I didn’t feel like futzing around with it over the weekend, but last night, while chatting on the phone with my sister, I finally changed the flat and patched a few tubes, and on my way to work this morning I realized that things were pretty badly amiss, however I didn’t have time to run home and change bikes.

I’ll probably ride my racing bike tomorrow. I don’t commute on it that regularly because it’s a little squirrely. The short wheelbase combined with the fact that my hands are too small to work the brifters well means that I’m doubly screwed when it comes to fast stops and/or dodging pedestrians, debris, cars, and other hazards. The steering is super-touchy and it is mad easy to oversteer. Almost every wreck I’ve ever had on this bike was due to oversteering and losing my balance. It’s most wicked at low speeds. At a higher speed, you can just lay into a curve, but trying to do anything particularly delicate under about 10mph is tricksy. When I get some money together, this bike is getting a bit of a makeover, involving a steel fork with a little more rake to slow the steering down a bit and a different brake-lever and shifter setup. I’ll probably be going with bar-end shifters (hopefully the sort that can be switched back and forth between indexed and friction) and traditional brake levers. I’m also thinking of having the auxiliary cyclocross levers on the tops of the bars, which are extra handy for mass-start events, futzing around in traffic, and other occasions where my hands aren’t on the drops. I’m hoping to partially fund this project by selling the carbon fiber fork and Shimano 105 “brifters” on eBay or something. They may well be decent swapmeet trade-bait. We shall see.

Of course, I could always ride my ever-gnarly, endlessly reliable old mountain bike, but it’s coming into the part of the year where riding on knobby tires stops being quite so much fun unless I’m actually, you know, riding offroad. I’m feeling too buttworthily lazy to put on my street slicks, as they are currently installed on Todd’s bike, and I don’t want to do a wheel swap because his bike’s gear cluster is pretty well worn out and his bike’s front wheel is out of true.

So yeah, I should look into investing in a truing stand more or less pretty soon.

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