Spring Cleaning

I’d have never thought it possible, but the combination of extra heavy inner-tube, tire liner and providence let me make it through the months of January and February without a flat tire. I’m not jinxing it because karma already deposited her regards all over me last August, when I had a record number of flats in mostly good weather.

Yesterday, I gave my bike some thorough and much-needed loving spring cleaning. There are a lot of wear spots where parts come in contact with the frame. For example, the bike was never designed to have fenders on it. The rear fender is anchored to the seat tube via a zip tie. Over several thousand miles it’s vibrated off all the paint where it contacts. I have since put some extra handlebar wrap as a buffer. Fugly, yes, but quiet. I don’t know what to do about the bare spots. Theoretically, aluminum should be fine, right?

The new crank set that I received for Christmas has an extra flange at its mount point that places it a half inch out from the front dérailleur’s range of motion. I didn’t notice this until I got everything reassembled, couldn’t get it to kick over to the middle ring (though my frustration led to discovering Bicycle Tutor), and pulled it off for a side-by-side measurement. There’s no receipt, but the rings “should” fit on the old crank. (I use air quotes because this crank should have been just a straight replacment.) Stupid Flangeders.

While cleaning the wheels, I found obvious concavity on the drive side of the rear rim, illustrating how much havoc winter commuting wreaks upon equipment. I imagine this would be worse if I didn’t hose the grit off the wheels each evening. Here’s a visual comparison:

A replacement is being built. Until then, I’m using the original rear wheel that came with the bike: one of the ubiquitous 24-spoke jobbers that’s intended for featherweights riding in perfect weather on frictionless, glassless roads, i.e. not me. Its repair was not covered by the Montlake Bike or manufacturer warranty, but took nearly four weeks as special spokes were required from the planet Shimano. Frankly, I don’t want to ride anything so potentially fragile, but it serves as a decent spare.

The rear cassette and chain are still in good condition, so they just got a good dousing in the parts cleaner. Some weekends it seems like it ought to just be a cologne. :-/

My current Brooks B17 saddle only needed a half turn adjustment, far less than I would have expected on the Bike Friday. I’d conjecture the Friday’s constant bounciness isn’t good for leather.

Finally, I installed new cables and a double layer of bar tape. The old tape was very stinky from all those miles of perspiration.


For those of you who’ve read this far, I’ve started another blog to keep track of the random stuff I learn. It will be eclectic. (I am also shutting down my other, creative writing venture as a preventive measure. 😉I think this just confused people; I’ve just merged them.

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