I know…I’m starting to take on a bit of a whiney tone, but on my way home last night I detoured to Pedal Pusher on Walnut Street towards Progress.  It’s a small shop that I think carries mostly Raleigh bikes, but they have always been friendly.  My C’dale was purchased from there by the original owner, and when we lived in Colonial Park I would stop in, although I think it was a different owner.

Anyway, they had both the mirror I needed and the natural cork tape.  The guy who I assume is the owner even commented that he uses the same mirror, and he apologized for the high cost of the Italian tape.  Looking around the shop I only found one tourer, and one or two cyclocross bikes.  The rest appeared to be an assortment of racers, a rack of kids bikes, and a few comfort/cruisers.  Still, for the small size of the place, it was reasonably packed with parts, clothes, and accessories.  So while certainly not my “Country Bike Shop”, they are making an effort.  Thus, whenever I can, they’ll at least get a call before I go on-line to find what I want.

As for the cork tape; I’m experimenting.  I really like the look of the natural leather bar wrap, but the $50-60 price is hard to swallow.  I spent some time looking at bikes on Cyclofiend and was impressed by the look of some bikes that had either cloth or cork tape that had been shellaced.  Further, I read a comment by someone about how natural cork tape takes on the look of leather when treated properly.  Thus my thoughts are to use some mahogany stain that I have to try to match my saddle, and then possibly coat the works with a plyable protective finish.  I spread out some newspaper on the dining room table when I got home and did a test strip.  Not bad, but the color came out more brown without enough red to match the saddle.  Still, it could easily pass for leather.  I might have to play around with some pigment or just see what Lowe’s has that might make a better match. 

While I like the Titanico saddle, I do have to say that they are not nearly as attractive as the Brooks with the finish.  I think they use more of a surface paint to get the color rather that a stain that lets the grain of the leather come through.  The Titanico does not have that luster that a Brooks has, and I doubt it will ever develop any sort of patina that makes a Brooks worth every penny.

The other issue that I have to resolve is whether or not to remove the gel tape on my bars, or just tape over them to have the additional padding.  Having just the cork tape would probably look smarter and less clunky, but I like having something substantial to hold on to while riding.  My fear is that the cork may ultimately end up cracking or tearing with having the padding underneath.  As I sit here writing and thinking about it, I’m resolving that for all it costs, I’ll probably try wrapping it over the gel tape and see how it works out.

With other news, we’re having alot of turnover at work now that the election is over.  Where I work we have a lot of people who came from the private sector, pulling down alot more money than what they are making working for the state.  After four years, they’re moving on to greener pastures.  On the home front, my oldest son is competing in the district’s Academic Bowl tomorrow night (he can be a real geek when he puts his mind to it) and I am painting the stairwell ceiling.  Try balancing on a 2×8 suspended between a Little Giant ladder on one end, and a step ladder on the other, 9 feet up.  It’s really quite stable; I just don’t look down.

One final note of interest, at least to me.  We found out that our neighbors’ house has not sold yet because they have it listed at $360K.  I can’t imagine what they’re thinking.


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