Monday, February 18, 2019

"CYCLING" in Napoli

"CYCLING" in Napoli

Ugly, isn't it? Not the scenery, we mean the bike.

The scenery's just great!

Really great!

But the bike(s)? UGH!

Functional, but UGLY! We ended up "leasing" (I guess that's what you'd call it if you bought 'em with an agreement the shop will buy 'em back when you're done?) a pair of Scott Aspects to ride around while we're here rather than haul our ancient MTB's down from our HQ at Piedmont Cycling Resort.

Like our time in Rome, we soon found the cycling opportunities very limited, but were determined to not end up doing no riding during these four months. Above you see Heather in the Capodimonte park on Sunday.

Why these ugly bikes? The roads here are a lot like those in Rome. Not so much asphalt but plenty of paving stones of various shapes and sizes, making MTB tires much more fun (and safer) than anything narrower. 

Yep, you would do OK with your Paris-Roubaix roadracing machine as these roads are NOT the Forest of Arenberg, but a 2.3 tire on a 27.5 wheel is better, even if it takes a bit more effort - our object is to not lose all of our cycling fitness after all!

We went down to a local shop and threw a leg over a couple of bikes. With 29" wheels even the size M was way-too-big. The shop owner explained he didn't have any S sizes in stock - nobody wants to ride anything "small" he explained. So he ordered size S but failed to consider the smaller ones (wisely) come with 27.5" wheels, so these ended up a bit too small, especially with the ridiculously short stems common on modern MTB's.

We were kind of stuck since he didn't have much use for size S anyway and we didn't want to wait until when/if size M's could be ordered and delivered. So these bikes look even more dorky than usual with the seatposts sticking up above the max line. We supplied our own longer stems and cut the handlebars down to a reasonable width, which mostly fixed the very unstable steering characteristics in their as-delivered condition.

The result: way better than nothing and far easier (and probably cheaper) than hauling our own bikes down here. The low-end Big-S brand shifters and drivetrain seem to work just fine while the cheapo hydro disk brakes have yet to start squealing as they're prone to do. 
We'll ride 'em around until mid-May (hoping we don't snap the seatposts off!) and then hope the shop owner will honor his buy-back offer as we have zero interest in a pair of too small bikes!

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