D11: 杜泽→常山 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2019

D11: 杜泽→常山

It's a citrus sort of day
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I am not in love with the Alfine-11. On the basis of only a few days of having ridden with planetary gears, I'm beginning to think that I very much like them and the concept of them but I am also very much not in love with the Alfine-11.

There's a grinding noise that's it started to make. It's also slipping sometimes from the lowest gear back into the second lowest gear. I've done some reading on the internet and I think I possibly understand what's wrong (at least I understand enough that I can take it to a bike shop that understands black magic better than I do) but I'm not sure I really understand.

What I do know is that for a maintenance free simple to use piece of blackbox magic, there's an awful lot of fidgeting and adjusting going on; and, even with the Patterson up front, I've not got anywhere near as low a granny as I used to have but my top end is ridiculous big to the extreme and then some.

According to Sheldon Brown's gear inch calculator my current range is 21.3 to 139.9 versus an ordinary 27 speed mountain bike's 16.8 to 80. The 81.4 that I get in the highest gear without the Patterson engaged is a bit on the low end for downhills that I'm pedaling through but the 21.3 at the bottom is just a dismal bad not good enough granny for hill climbs with luggage and this particular tour not only doesn't have much in the way of "real" mountains, it's also pretty light on luggage.

Today is the first day since I got to Hangzhou that I've had lovely blue skies and sunny weather. In theory, since I'm on farm roads, I've also got scenery but this particular set of winding curving up and down roads is so thoroughly lined with houses that its hard to see where one village ends and the next one begins. There's definitely scenery out behind the buildings blocking my view but there's a lot of buildings.

I'm kind of wondering what people around here do for money to have buildings as nice as these. There's the obvious citrus groves behind the houses but it's got to be more than that. There's got to be relatives off doing city things for city wages to have so very many nice houses as I'm seeing. Barely a single structure is the exposed brick and half constructed mess of styles added on to here and there as money becomes available. Most of them wouldn't be out of place in a fancy development of luxury villas.

Fancy countryside homes
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One of the rare original buildings
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Another one of the rare original buildings
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I'm trying to enjoy the wonderful weather but the weirdness that I don't have the skills to figure out with the Alfine and the nuisance awareness that's not pain but is instead heightened awareness going on in my lady bits as things are almost but not quite reacclimated to this wearing bike shorts all day thing is making it harder than I want.

Also, to be perfectly fair, Zhejiang is boring. I've been through the province by bike twice now and the only things I've found worth visiting were worth visiting without a bike. Most of the old buildings are locked up. Most of the temples are locked up. Places that aren't locked have often been so thoroughly cleaned up and sanitized as to be indistinguishable from something that was purpose built for tourism.

Sure there's been some fun here and there and some points of interest here and there. Sometimes there have even been lots of interesting things. Everywhere else in China, I have multiple detours per day everyday; I take snack breaks at shrines. I have a nice stretch while looking at odd modern wall art. I buy fruit and other local products from people just randomly set up and selling near their fields.

Speaking of odd modern wall art...
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But this just isn't happening in Zhejiang this time and didn't happen in Zhejiang last time. I've got some really good friends in Hangzhou so I'll be back again but I'm not sure if I'll take a bike next time.

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 756 km (469 miles)

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Mike AylingMarian
To get lower gears you could use a smaller chain ring.
Plug some chain ring sizes into Sheldon's calculator.
I am a big fan of IGHs and have two Rohloff equipped bikes.

Mike
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1 month ago
Marian RosenbergTo Mike AylingThe problem is that the Patterson doesn't come with a smaller chain ring and the Alfine alone doesn't go high enough for downhills.

The solution will likely involve keeping the Patterson and getting a Rohloff with a very very big sprocket.
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1 month ago