I'm LinkedIn and Google-Plussed.

Mail and packages, use maildrop:
Norman Sperling
2625 Alcatraz Avenue #235
Berkeley, CA 94705-2702

cellphone 650 - 200 - 9211
eMail normsperling [at] gmail.com

The Rubber Met the Road, and the Road Won

© Norman Sperling, February 19, 2012

My ancient Nishiki bike has blown its last tire. It's been nickel-and-diming me to death for years. The seat has problems, the front wheel makes noises, spokes keep breaking, ... It's way past its prime, always needing this and that readjusted or replaced. It's worn out, and just going to get worse.

It was built in Japan in 1976. I bought it used and with rust spots, in Oakland in the mid 1980s. I probably rode it 300 days a year, roughly 5 miles each. So I've pedaled 37,000 miles on it! It doesn't owe me anything.

It's taken me lots of places. It's seen a whole lot of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, and Redwood City. In the last 2 years I've ridden it along all of San Mateo County's Bay Trail, except the part in East Palo Alto.

My son Mason says I can use his bike because he never does. I spent an hour reinflating tires, banishing cobwebs and leaves, raising and then replacing the seat (with the old one I don't like from the Nishiki). I discovered that its seat-bolt isn't 9/16 inch, it's really 14 mm, as demonstrated when I found the right wrench. I raised the handlebars the last inch that their structure allowed.

After a couple times around the block, I felt stable enough for a short jaunt. It's OK, but a very different feel. It makes me lean much more forward than I like, so my neck and wrists and arms complain. I do like the shock-absorbing rear wheel, the handlebar gearshift (no more reaching for an inconvenient lever) and the wide, knobby tires (no more dodging grates, but they feel funny vibrating as I roll).

My next bike will probably be my last. So I want handlebars that put the handles where my hands actually are - similar to my old Schwinndlebars. I want a comfortable seat like a Brooks saddle, with a shock absorber. I want strong sturdy tires that resist punctures on gravel paths, a major time-and-money waster with the old bike's thin tires.

With my Great Science Trek coming up, the bike has to fold to avoid taking up too much space in my camper. A folder would also be wise for the probably-small car and dwelling I expect after the Trek. Weight isn't an issue, though, because I use the bike for exercise. I've started looking at Brompton and Dahon, but they give me sticker-shock.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

Your Cart

View your shopping cart.