Saturday, April 9, 2011

Like An English Rain

Tasks for a Spring Rain

Woke up to a soft rain falling from a leaden sky this morning, pattering down for hours, somewhat unusual for Phoenix although not unknown in the Spring. This was my trigger to perform some routine maintenance: brakes, chain, bar tape, on Yasuko my daily commuter. The brakes and chain were the usual stuff, so I'll just briefly go over the latest bar taping.

Recently, limom mentioned Planet Bike comfort cork gel tape, which shows that great minds think alike, as I had recently purchased some for myself in preparation for either a) the day that the existing tape grew so gnarly that I had no choice but to replace it, or b) something else besides catastrophic failure, like a soft Spring rain, induced me to do some basic maintenance. Although I wonder what catastrophic bar tape failure would look like.

At first, I was considering leaving the old Cinelli cork tape on and just double taping over the top of it. Since it was the rain and not the gnarly that caused me to replace it, the tape was still in decent shape. I was considering double taping to see if that approach would make my massive gorilla-like paws more comfortable holding onto the bars. I seldom wear gloves on my commute, unless it's freakishly cold here, so two layers of tape seemed to be something I might want to try.

Checking around the inter-blogs, though, I came across a few people who suggested putting a strip of tape across the top of the bars, and taping over that. I gave that a try, using a strip of the old Cinelli tape across the bar, and winding the comfort cork gel tape over the top. The results look and feel good, better than the old single layer, which I had also put on a little unevenly, and I'll probably report back in a few weeks once I have had a chance to try out commuting with this set up.

Now, after maintenance, the rain has stopped, and the streets are starting to dry. The birds are singing. The bikes are tuned up. Hmmm, what would the next logical step be? Get up. Go ride.

UPDATE!! Now with wrapped bar picture!!!



  1. I never thought of sticking a strip of tape under there though I did look at those fizik gel thingys.
    I think I'll try that as I got a couple of lengths of the Planet Bike stuff leftover.

  2. We need a picture of the new tape now on the bike! Your post proves that rainy days are good to have now and then. Unfortunately where I live, they have been the norm, and the sun has been rare.

  3. Yes PaddyAnne is right- we would like to see the new tape on those bars....The strip of tape idea does work well- giving just the right amount of extra thickness............


  4. OK, updated the post with a photo of the new tape on the bars. limom, let us know how the additional strip works out for you!

  5. So, how do you like those bars? They're selling for $25 on Velo-Orange. I was thinking about buying a pair for the old mountain bike frame that I'll eventually build.

  6. Rat Trap, I like them a lot for commuting, mainly because they are comfortable and offer several different hand positions. I think they'll be even better wrapped up with the right tape configuration.

  7. Looks great! I love riding on freshly-taped bars. Also, bar tape padding is a good thing.

  8. Trekking handlebars! SUPERB!

    Got 'em on The Roadley and on Hardiboi.

    Although I prefer the Sunlite cruiser foam grips over tape: easier to put on and softer to the touch.

  9. Oh, and Rat Trap? Nashbar has 'em in stylish black for 23 bucks!

  10. Apertome on my old Centurion ten-speed back in the day I had this foam padding stuff over the whole bar instead of bar tape. It felt good, but looked, well, like I had big old foam bars.

    BluesCat, those trekking bars are kind of growing on me. Even though I know only a bike nerd would appreciate them.


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