Monday, December 19, 2005


I haven't worked since last Thursday, and I won't go back to work until next Tuesday. So naturally I won't be commuting much over these couple of weeks. I'm home with the kids sledding and trying to stay out of trouble (with mixed results). I'm also doing some upgrades.

A week ago I stopped off at Boehm's Cycle in Mendota to see what they carried for studded tires. Nothing in stock, but they could order Nokians for $65 each. OK thanks, I'll think about it. But then I saw a Planet Bike Alias light on sale for $69. I looked and left the store empty handed. I got home, did some googling and found that this is a heck of a deal on a pretty good little light. So Saturday afternoon on my way home from running errands I stopped by and bought it. It's a nice little unit. It came with a helmet mount, which I'm a little unsure of. My biggest fear is that I'll crash and break the light in the process. A handlebar mount seems more protected. I'll see how the helmet mount treats me, and if I don't like it I can order a handlebar mount for $10 from Planet Bike. What's also cool is that Planet Bike donates 25% of their profits to bike advocacy. When I'm ready for a new set of fenders for the project bike I'll probably get a set of their Freddies for that very reason. I hooked up the light to my helmet, charged up the battery and went for a quick spin around the neighborhood last night. This thing is bright! I couldn't even tell that I had my other LED light on because of the light the Alias threw out. So I'll probably run the LED in blink mode just to attract attention. The real test will come on the first commute. My neighborhood streets are better lit than some portions of my commute.

So I thought about the Nokians more now that crashing could mean wrecking a light. But I decided that $140 after tax is just a bit rich for my frugal nature. So today I ran down to Erik's and picked up a set of Innova 700x35 studded tires. They were on sale for $29 each, so two tires and two new tubes ran me $74. I'll have these mounted and be ready to roll when I head back to work. I've read a lot of reviews by people who say they've worn out the Innovas in only a year or two, but I'm going to take my chances. I guess I'll see how they hold up. And, the studs are replaceable if it comes to that. I know that I could still wipe out, and probably will. But these will definitely help.

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