The Yuba Mundo arrived last Thursday. I got a notice from Fedex around lunch time, got busy in work, and then called my local bike shop (the venerable, awesome Geneva Bicycle Center) to see if I could stop by to see the unboxing of the beast. Lo and behold, they said assembly was almost done, and that I could come pick it up. I raced downtown. The Yuba Mundo’s first impression was…loooonnnngggg! Oddly, seeing it on the rack in the shop, the first thing I thought of was a hearse. Another kickstarter project for green burial processions flittered through my head.
Anyway, I had my first ride around the block, and GBC’s Matt took some photos with my camera (which had no memory card in it! Doh!). My first impression from that, and it has remained since that test ride, is that the bike is really smooth and a pleasure to ride. The turning radius is a bit wider, but I adjusted to that within a day. The other fun aspect of the bike was…gears! I’ve been riding a single speed for the past six years or so; 21 speeds I barely know what to do with. So the Yuba feels far faster than what I’m used to. I think I might be breaking the speed limit a bit going down William Street.
On the way home, I saw my daughter’s bike at the bakery, so I stopped in to interrupt her little internship for a quick ride on the back. She had a blast, but she keeps asking for a brake lever on the stoker bars…even if it doesn’t work. It’s a control thing, I get it.
So here she is. My daughter calls it “the bus”. I haven’t settled on a name yet. I’ve ridden her every day since last Thursday: on my commute to work, downtown for errands, to the grocery store.
Over the last week I’ve been tweaking the bike to my liking. This is my main ride and will replace my car as much as possible; it’s also an ambassador for cargo bikes in this area. I want it to feel and look proper.
So here’s what I’ve done so far: swapped my Brooks B67 leather saddle from the old bike, and added Brooks grips to the handlebars; they feel and look pretty awesome. I wanted a more old-school, swept-back handlebar angle, so I replaced the stock handlebars with Nitto Albatross bars, which are really fun and feel as comfortable as everyone says. I trimmed the stock bars down a few inches and put them into the stoker stem and added some cork grips (I still have to shellac those). I added aluminum fenders from Velo-Orange (it took quite a while to install them, especially bending a front stay around the disc brake caliper in a graceful manner). I wanted more coverage in rain. And I wanted it shinier. Lastly I donated the stock bell (which sounds awesome!) to my daughter’s bike. Her eyeball bell broke a few months ago, but she’s leaving it there, next to the new bell, because people like the eyeball rolling around. I added a crane copper bell, classic! Here’s a close up of the handlebars:
One of my goals with this bicycle is to really learn how to take care of it; I’d like to be prepared for simple repairs on the road and adjustments at home. I also spent a few nights in the garage tweaking the derailleurs, in part to get them the way I wanted, in part to learn how they work and how to adjust them. I got the rear system down,
but the front is still giving me a bit of trouble. [Turns out I did get it right. I didn’t realize that the front trigger shifter would have a very different feel than the rear one, and that it was normal to have to push the trigger down farther and hold it a bit longer on that side–thanks again GBC for the guidance.]
I’ve also been putting a tool kit together for under the seat, and have been practicing with the new Park chain tool and a bit of chain GBC-owner Jim Hogan gave me for the purpose. Next up is learning how to use the tire bars and change a tire.
The Yuba Mundo is almost ready for prime time. The side-loader panels were back-ordered, and I’m trying to locate a go-getter bag in stock. Probably next week, Geneva Bicycle Center is going to rebuild the front wheel around a Shimano Alfine dynohub, and I’ll be adding a Schmidt Edelux headlight and B&M taillight. I hope to do some events outside of Geneva, and I want good lights for those (otherwise gloriously) dark country roads. Lastly, I still need to devise signs for the side of the Mundo to complete its transformation into the Bicycle Astronomy Velocipede.