This has not been a particularly cold winter, but it has been extremely icy. When I was commuting to work every day, I rode my bike regularly, even in icy weather. Nowadays, there’s less incentive to venture out, so I haven’t been biking as much. I still get out about once a week, and I’ve substituted with other activities like running and climbing, but in general, I’ve been home and indoors a lot this winter, and am getting a tad stir-crazy. My treadmill desk helps to keep me sane, as it gives me a great option to get exercise while working, but on the flip side, it’s a further disincentive to go outdoors. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though: spring is around the corner, and I may get to start returning to the office later this year (fingers crossed on that one). When the weather warms a bit (or the ice melts), I’m hoping to do more kayaking this year, and I’m also considering trying out solo top-roping. More on that later, I’m sure.
It’s getting to the time of year where I start thinking about spring maintenance on my winter beater bike. I checked last week and found that it was in need of a new chain. I try to be pretty good about replacing chains before they wear out, because it saves money in the long term by extending the life of my cassettes and chainrings. This is really important with an expensive drivetrain like the GX Eagle on my MTB. Parts are a little bit cheaper for my winter bike (an old 1993 Specialized Rockhopper), but can be harder to come by due to the bike’s age, so I try to squeeze as much life out of them as possible. I’ve had the same cassette and rings on the Rockhopper for a number of years, so I looked at them closely the other day, and it appeared that they might be worn out. So, I contacted my LBS for a new cassette and middle ring. To my surprise, they had a 7-speed SRAM cassette and a 38T Hyperglide chainring in stock — both of them exact matches. I bought both of them for a sum total of about $28. I brought them home and compared them to the old parts, only to find that the latter weren’t as worn out as I had thought. The thing with these components is that the teeth aren’t perfectly symmetrical (I think it’s to improve shifting performance) and to an untrained eye, this can be mistaken as wear. So, I can get some more life out of the old parts, and when the time does come to replace them, I’ll have new parts on hand.
Anyhow, once I’m done with the Rockhopper, I’m going to move on to the MTB, which needs a good tear-down and cleaning. It’s been a horrible winter for mountain biking, so I really haven’t ridden it much in the past couple of months. I’m hoping that this year will not be as wet as the second half of 2020.