|Techy Bike Stuff
||[Aug. 14th, 2018|08:52 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
I originally bought Perseverance, my Novara Fusion, as a winter bike. Novara is an REI store-brand and it's a quality bike. I paid $400 for it, half of the new price, to a seller on Craigslist in my last year of undergrad. It has Shimano Roller Brakes, which are basically a kind of drum brake. Unlike typical rim brakes, or the newer disc brakes, they are essentially weather-sealed. They are also very low-maintenance and are replaceable as a unit. Its 8-speed gearing is provided by an internally-geared Nexus rear hub, which is also basically weather-proof. The only winter issues I've had was water once getting into the control cable housings and freezing, causing my rear brake to not want to release after application. I may look into some water-proof cables eventually. It also has a generator built into the front hub that powers a damned-bright German (Busch & Müller) LED light attached just above the front fender. (It has full fenders of course.) It originally had a cheap little handlebar-mounted LED headlight which seemed next to useless. German law requires that bicycle lighting meets certain standards for use on roads, so lights for the German market have become a de-facto industry standard.
I spent yesterday afternoon (and evening; these things always take longer than you expect) getting Perseverance ready for riding. I removed the studded winter tires (Nokians; made in Finland, which I took as a point in their favor when shopping!) and replaced them with the near-slick Continental Gatorskins from Longing, my other bike. That involved lots of removing and reinstalling of wheels, tires, and inner tubes. Gatorskins especially have such a stiff bead that they will break plastic tire levers if you're not careful and they are a pain in the butt to work with. They're worth the effort though. I haven't tracked mileage carefully for a long time (though now that I'm using Strava I am again), but I'm pretty sure I have gone over 2000 miles without a flat on Gatorskins.)
At some point, after turning bike frames upside and moving them around, I saw that one of them had dripped some rust-colored liquid onto the carpet in the spare room floor. Probably water that was hiding inside a cable housing or something. With a curse I cleaned it up and it doesn't seem to have stained. We need to replace the carpet before moving anyway.
I'd removed the front wheel in Kenosha for easier stuffing into the car. When I mounted it on the bike in Evanston, I found that I was missing one of the washer that go between the frame and the axle nuts. Especially with this bike's frame being aluminum instead of steel, I didn't want to chance not having one, so I walked out to the hardware store a couple blocks away with the washer from the other side for comparison. I bought four (because why buy just one?), walked back home, and found that the ID of the washer was ever-so-slightly too small to fit. I held them up to my eye again and still couldn't discern a difference, but the OEM ones just barefly fit on the axle and the new ones just barely did not.
Of course, I do not have any rasps. I tried using first the threads of an old bolt, then the cross-hatched jaw of a set of pliers to rasp out the center but was not getting anywhere. Thinking further, I hatched the idea of locking the washer tightly in a set of vice grips, then pushing the jaw of the pliers tight into the washer's hole and rotating them around to kind of ream the opening larger. That worked!
With the front wheel mounted and the bike up on the work stand, I did all the cable attaching and adjusting for the brakes and gear-shift. I had to use Google to refresh my memory about how the connections are supposed to connect, since these are weird-ass parts (How do I always end up with weird hardware?). To adjust shifting, there's an itty-bitty window in the hub that has a little yellow mark on each side. One stays where it is, the other is adjusted by changing cable length with the barrel adjuster on the handle-bar mounted shifter until they line up with each other when in fourth gear. With alcohol on a Q-tip, I cleaned grime until I found the little window and got that set up. I took Perseverance off the stand and put Longing back onto it, looking a little forlorn with it's bare-metal rims. It'll be back on the road before too long, hopefully.
Outside, I took a test ride around the block. As I expected, shifting was funky as the cable kind of settled in. I adjusted it again, rode around the block, tested the brakes, and had fun ringing the little bell (it's blue with a rainbow and a unicorn on it; Danae bought it for me to match my helmet because she loves me and is wonderful). I locked it up to the rack outside and went indoors, by which point it was eight o' clock.
I'd hoped to start photographing Dark Tower to go on Ebay but I was tired and feeling lazy, plus my hands were filthy even after washing them three times, so instead I sat on the couch with Danae and played Assassin's Creed 'till bed time at nine.
And this morning I rode to work! Yay!! This bike has always felt notably different from my other one, for reasons that I'm sure have to do with complicated frame geometry and saddle and handlebar position. I have a mild preference for my other one. But being able to ride is always a many-times-over win from having to take the train or drive. I am content.