Every Year, In The Spring
If you ride all winter, even just a bit, you end up with a bike that needs a complete overhaul pretty much every spring. Things wear out, get coated in salt and grime from the roads...
I'm actually really bad about cleaning in the winter. This winter even moreso, since I wasn't really riding around very often. And I couldn't actually pick it up high enough to get it on the stand.
This is pretty much where I was starting:
It was actually worse than that in other places. I'd ridden all last summer on this drivetrain, and a few months ago when I found out that my rear wheel needed to be re-laced, Partswasher mentioned that the drive train was pretty close to needing to be replaced. I probably had about 4-4500 miles on it, so that makes sense. Since that was mid January I think, I was not about to throw a new cassette and chainrings on then. That would be a complete waste of money. However, it had been skipping gears a lot, and apparently there was a lot of stretch on the chain, so I had them throw a new chain on when they did everything else.
It's finally getting past the point that there's ice on the ground regularly, so it was time to switch over to the slicks and replace all the moving parts. On Thursday when I was heading home, I decided to swing by Sunrise to pick up the parts that I needed. I thought that for sure they'd have the mid-range parts that I needed on hand. Oddly enough, I actually forgotten that it was a Grease Rag night, so it was kind of hectic. It turned out that they didn't have them in, so I ordered them for Friday. I had actually planned on getting them then, but that would have been a problem if I'd just stopped by.
Then I didn't even bother to get out on Friday. I was really really focused on the new "Playground" section on this site. I'm really happy with the Oembed stuff so far, hoping to have that finished next weekend. I was hoping to do it all this weekend, but the bike stuff ended up taking far too long.
Go, go, go
Woke up way too late Sat, since I was up too late the night before. Somehow I'd managed to mix up databases when putting in the new section and deploying, so it was close to midnight by the time I stopped working.
Then I decided that I sould quick clean up the road bike so that I could take it over to Sunrise to get the parts. But a quick clean and putting air into the tires quickly ended up taking most of the morning. I hadn't ridden it much at all last summer, and a couple rides were in rain. So there was quite a bit to clean. Only a few hours worth, which compared to the winter hybrid was nothing.
The first few blocks were really hard. Within a few feet, something felt wrong. I checked and it looked like the race-face fender was rubbing, so I adjusted that and rode on a few more blocks. By the time that I got to the greenway, I knew something was really wrong (yeah, I'm dense sometimes.) I thought that it was just because I was out of shape and not used to the steeper geometry that made it feel so hard. I stopped and checked, and it was the rear wheel rubbing against the frame. Duh. Of course that would slow me down. It honestly doesn't take much to make it rub. When I was putting everything together after cleaning it up, I realized that 25s are too big for the frame. That's what's on there now, and I had to let the air out in order to get it to the dropouts.
Once everything was in place, the rain was just starting to sprinkle. It was really perfect, just a bit to keep cool so I could really push without any worries. It took a bit to get familiar with the bike again and feel OK going fast again, but soon I was flying. I spent most of last year in the middle ring, but now it seems like I've got no problem pushing the big ring, even halfway down on the rear cassette. That felt really good. I noticed that the bike was way too small after so much time away, so I need to get a new frame to put my components on. Even with it being a bit small, I was passing a lot of people. One roadie passed me, but I was just zooming down the trail. I really want to keep that feeling this year.
Open Shop At Spokes on Saturday
I had been to the grand opening at Spokes several months ago, but for some reason it was kind of weird for me. Just felt out of place being around all the bike advocacy people and politicians and community organizers. I had also worked late and missed my late lunch, and back then I was having real problems bonking a few times a day if I didn't get enough to eat. There was supposed to be food there, but I was towards the end and there was nothing to eat so I left pretty quickly.
I've been meaning to go back for awhile, it's such a great thing to have in the neighborhood. I kind of wanted to volunteer, and I still might. They have open shop night a couple times a week, on Wed from 5pm - 9pm and then Sat from 1pm - 9pm. I wanted to hit up the Sat one since working on my stand is a bit hard. It's way too high and you can't turn it or anything. It was made out of just stuff you can get at the hardware store. I also didn't have a chainwhip or a cassette tool, so I needed to do at least that.
I was really impressed with how hopping the place was. I wasn't really sure what to expect, since I hadn't been down there. But four out of six stands were in use. While I was there, three people came by with donations. A couple people wanting to buy bikes for their kids. I think at least four people I know, and one of them was volunteering down there. Seems like they're doing some pretty good work.
The equipment was really nice, and I was able to get started right away. A nice lady helped me get the stuff that I needed and show me how to use the chain whip properly. I haven't really changed many cassettes. The bike itself was still completely covered in grime, but by now it was like 2:30pm or so, and I didn't know how long things would take. So I just headed straight there. It was another couple hours there, I pulled of the cranks, too and then the chainrings.
And, disaster. The middle one was the wrong type. It was the right number of teeth and bcd, but it didn't have the flat interface with the lip of the crank that I needed. Switched everything else out, and used a ton of simple green to clean off everything down there since it was all apart. Every tiny piece of sand and oil, from the bike and from the crankarms. Put it back together with just the middle chain ring left from the old setup. And I had cleaned that up a whole lot. I gave them the old parts, honestly they didn't look too bad. I've seen a lot of friends riding on a whole lot worse.
By the time I was done there, it was like 4:30pm or so. And I still hadn't actually eaten breakfast. And yet, there was more to do. I still needed to swing by the pharmacy. Dropped some stuff off at home, and by then it had started really, really pouring. Hit up the Seward Coop and had some tacos and a chai and then finally headed home and started in on the real work.
So much to clean
As you can see from that picture above, things were quite dirty. I also wanted to replace the brown reflective tape that I had on there. When I first customized the bike after buying it, I did some brown leather grips to match the honey saddle. It was pretty uncomfortable, but I tried putting some brown 3M stuff that I had still from my first real print shop job years and years ago. But it wasn't really reflective. I wanted to clean off those, too. And every little piece needed to be cleaned. The brakes completely taken off, rear derailleur taken off and pulled apart, etc. I also wanted to pull off the cable guide from the bottom bracket, so that I could actually figure out what the serial number was. I've had the bike a few years now, and didn't know. Yeah, I know, bad bike owner.
It looked a little like this halfway through:
I was up until about 2:40 or so working on it and listening to Doctor Who Audio Dramas. I downloaded them a few months ago, maybe longer, but hadn't started listening to them. I think they could be good for doing things like working on the bike or cleaning up around the house. I like fiction, and end up watching a lot of it on the computer. That makes it kind of hard to actually get things done, because you're just sitting and watching. With audio, you can move around and focus on other things. And they're in the old school format, even though they were done recently. So you don't really have to pay attention like you would with new stuff, where one little thing could totally mean something major, and just be a blip in the background for a second.
Still, I made a lot of good progress before giving up. The shifting was actually pretty close before I went to bed, but the brakes were totally messed up. The shows are about 2.5 hours long. So when the last one finished, I knew that starting another would have me up all night, and I probably would fall asleep under the bike stand.
Sunday Morning, Coming Down
Well, sort of. I was actually still pretty energetic, possibly from all the coffee I'd been drinking and the long hours working on all-consuming projects. The kind of thing that I should possibly be worried about. But, I'm getting a lot done, so I'm mostly OK with it.
I did a bit of work, but then had to run across town to pick up something. So I ran that errand on the road bike. Came home, started back in on the Cannondale, and pretty quickly got myself to a point that I couldn't do any more. Why? Well...
It was starting to get late again, and I still hadn't had lunch. So I made everything as rideable as I could and headed out again. Stopped at the Wienery to get a couple dogs to go, then to Freewheel Bike for some help. I couldn't the bolt out (thought it needed to be tapped) and the rear wheel was now at about the 100-150 mile point and needed to be trued a bit from settling in. I had noticed it hopping a bit when I was trying to get the brakes done. And the front brakes were so, so squeaky.
While they were pulling out the bolt (vice grips from the back worked) and truing it, I found some new full finger gloves (light ones) and a new helmet (I only had a winter one and it was way too hot now.) I also picked up a fourth hand tool. I've wanted one for quite awhile, but trying to get things working the other day my left hand was really not working well to hold stuff where I needed it.
So, that was a whole lot more expensive than I was hoping for, so it had to go on the credit card. But, I was able to come home and fix everything pretty perfectly pretty quickly. Actually totally dialed in my own shifting for once! Really!
Then it was getting late and time to run to the store, a few short runs and it was so nice to have that bike working correctly again. It had been such a nightmare for so long.
But, by the time I got home, 8:45, still only two hot dogs for food. And I needed to make chai for tomorrow. Toasted baguette with cheese and summer sausage was about all I could manage. Watched Game of Thrones and then the season premiere of Mad Men, and now, finally, the day is pretty much done.
Such a nice, relaxing weekend. It's going to be so nice to have working bikes for a few weeks, until they start to get gunked up and I forget to clean them again. :)