Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fryslan's First Sunday

This morning, I took Fryslan* out for coffee and the crossword.  The elastic straps on her rear rack were perfect for holding the Sunday NY Times safely and securely to our destination.  Here's how she looked once we arrived:

Very stately, even with an old leather purse slapped on as a makeshift handlebar bag.

Before we made it to breakfast, though, there was a minor tire mishap.  I wanted to check on the tire pressure before I left the house this morning, so I went to the front wheel, unscrewed the little rubber cap, and --WHOOSH!--  all the air blasted out of the tire.  It seems I'd accidentally also undone the metal nut underneath the rubber cap.  But looking at the little pieces I had in my hand, I was really confused.  See, I know there are generally two kinds of valves on bicycle tires:
What I had  going on didn't look like either of these.  It was as narrow as a Presta valve but didn't have the pin thing sticking out of the top.  Some minutes of googling later, I was led to believe that what I had was a Woods or Dunlop valve, which apparently is rare in the US and looks something like this:

After replacing the nut, I was kind of able to get some air back into the tire, but the pump clearly wasn't able to form a proper seal on the valve, and I couldn't get any reading on the pressure.  It was good enough to ride over to Ace Wheelworks, though, and I made it over there right after they opened at noon-- along with almost every other cyclist in the Cambridge/Somerville area, it seemed.  Despite the mad rush, I was able to talk to someone within a few minutes.  He identified my valve as "a kind of European version of the Presta" (okay?), and after a little searching, he 1) declared that there was no pump in the entire shop that would fit, and 2) realized he had lost the metal nut for my valve so there was no way it would be able to hold air anyway.  So what ended up happening is he replaced the tube and valve, leaving me with this on the front tire:

(a basic Schrader, with no rubber cap for me, I guess.)

and then on the back tire, he just left everything alone, like so:

I guess it's back to Quad Bikes on Monday to see if they can give me any more insights into the mysterious valve and/or just replace it with a Schrader** so it matches the front (maybe with an extra rubber cap!).

Ah well.  I figure these getting-acquainted hiccups will just make us closer in the end, right?

* I'm still contemplating names.  At first, I was trying Frieda-- Frieda the Fryslan-- but the more I typed it, the more it looked like "Fried A," which isn't great.  Going the e-less route didn't help as much as you would think.  So just Fryslan for now.

** Honestly, I didn't know any of these names before this morning.  Did I fool you into believing otherwise?


Velouria said...

Oh God. No offense to any particular shop, but I've learned to keep my bikes away from bike shops that do not specialise in vintage or European bicycles.

So... How does the Fryslan ride? The people demand a report! And I admit I am curious how she(?) will compare with my Pashley, should they meet face to face!

margonaute said...

They should meet! Bicycle date!

I have to admit, I haven't ridden too many higher-end bicycles and did kind of buy the Frys on an impulse. But I think it's great. The 28" wheels make a huge difference-- I feel like I'm gliding over the road. Compared to my KHS Green, I do feel like I'm riding on some kind of great, grand ocean liner, and yet it somehow doesn't feel heavier when carrying it up the porch steps (of course, it's basket-less at the moment...). Also, the riding position is totally upright, which feels elegant, and I so love the width and sweep of the squarish Dutch handlebars.

Maybe an honest-to-goodness, if not totally informed, review to come?

Velouria said...

I think the difference you've experienced from the Manhattan Green is not so much the wheel-size as the tubing: the Green's is "flimsier", transferring more road shock to the body. The one negative thing I remember about riding it last spring, was that going over bricks or cobblestones or any imperfections in the road didn't feel so good; it was as if the frame would vibrate. Still, I think the KHS is an excellent "back-up bike"; a sort of lady in waiting to the Batavus : )

margonaute said...

That makes sense. I guess I'll have to reassign my approval of the 28" wheels to the fact that they make the bike look so very regal!

I did take a few photos of the two side by side (scrunched into my building's little hallway), and they do make quite a pair-- I was thinking along the lines of a bride and bridesmaid, since the Bat was dressed in cream! :-)

Anonymous said...

I remember one time while my bike was in at Clever Cycles here in town getting some work done, they loaned me a Batavus Old Dutch, and it had the same tube valves, which also confused me at the time.

I pretty much won't go anywhere but Clever Cycles at this point, because with the types of bikes we have, if I take them to most shops in town, I just get a blank stare, like "you want me to work on that?" We've had a couple experiences of mechanics breaking things too because they agreed to work on it but didn't know how, which is really frustrating.

Also, Frieda can also be spelled Frida, which eliminates the Fried connotation :)

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