Rainy Day Maintenance

It was raining all day today. For some, rain means Zwifting away like a fool–or, even worse, “working.” For me, it means taking care of all the bike maintenance I’ve been deferring. But first, I dropped The Car That I Own off at the mechanic with the help of my dedicated Dropping-The-Car-Off-At-The-Mechanic bike:

Note that I’ve removed the Brooks saddle since it seemed silly to keep a fine leather ass pedestal on a bicycle I seem only to ride when it’s raining or snowing.

I had an ambitious slate of projects I planned to see to, including getting my Chonus on:

The designer of the Chonus emailed me awhile back and asked if I’d like to try one. I thought it looked like something that might be good for my wife’s Clem Smith Jr., so I agreed. Since receiving it I’d been waiting for a rainy day to install it, and clearly today was the day.

But first, I needed to attend to the Normcore Nostalgia Bike:

While it’s by no means a fancy bike, I did think it could use a classier saddle, so I channeled my inner proctologist and applied Proofide to this Brooks saddle via a latex-encased digit:

I’d also recently purchased two pairs of 23mm tires at a deep discount. I’m well aware of “the science” and Jan Heine and all the rest of it, but the fact is if you’re riding on the road 23mm tires are perfectly fine–and because they’re so deeply unfashionable, you can often get some pretty nice ones dirt cheap. So since they were just sitting there, I figured I’d swaddle the wheels of the Nostalgia Bike in fresh rubber:

They seem skinny even for 23s, but then again my internal caliper is probably all out of wack from spending so much time on fat tires lately:

I’d also already swapped out the pedals yesterday after the plastic toe clip broke:

And installed a stealthy and udder-like trigger bell:

So the last remaining task was to remove the Biopace sticker from the large chainring:

This is not out of shame; indeed, I’m quite proud to be palping Biopace. However, I never really understood why everybody seemed to leave the sticker on them–though I have a theory, which is that the sorts of people who stick with Biopace are often the same people who leave the size stickers on their bikes. As for me, riding around with a Biopace sticker on my chainrings feels like walking around with the tag still on your shirt, so I re-homed it to a more ironic location on a different bicycle:

I think the bike is in a good place now:

The next task on my list was to prepare my older son’s bike for the upcoming Star Track semester, which starts next week:

This bike began life as a State “Core-Line,” and it was serving him well last season at the Star Track sessions, but I did notice he was a bit undergeared. Changing cogs is obviously easy enough, but I figured I might as well outfit the bike with a 144bcd crank while I was at it for even more gear-changing options. I could have taken the high road in sourcing a crank, but I have a soft spot for trying out cheap stuff, so I ordered the least expensive reputable “track” crank I could find, and a bottom bracket to go with it.

I’d received the crank, but was still waiting for the bottom bracket, so in the meantime I figured I’d at least get the old one out of there so I’d be ready to put everything in when it arrived:

I’d ridden the bike in all sorts of foul weather and never pulled the bottom bracket prior to this, so it had a whole paprika thing going on:

The steel chainring was also bubbling with rust:

But the bottom bracket itself was still reasonably smooth, if a little dry:

I was still waiting for that new bottom bracket, but it occurred to me I did already have another that was pretty close to the recommended size, so I figured I might as well try the new crank with that one:

Just as I finished installing the bottom bracket, who should arrive but the postal worker with the new one. However, I’d come this far, so I figured I’d just put the crank on the one I’d already installed and see how it looked. The chainline was off–way off, like so off I didn’t see how the “right” bottom bracket would work either. So I removed the bottom bracket and considered my options:

Despite being quite a bit shorter than the recommended size, clearly the short bottom bracket I’d just extracted would be my best shot. So I cleaned it up and hit it with some of this Dumonde stuff in the hope it would make its way into the bearings:

Then I buttoned everything up and whaddya know, it was pretty much right on:

I think a track bike chainline is supposed to be at 42mm, and this is pretty close, especially considering I probably don’t have the tape properly centered anyway. The chainline certainly looks right to the naked eye, and it all spins smoothly and quietly, and in the end that’s all that counts:

But I wasn’t done yet. Next I turned my attention to the wheels, which I’d gotten from a friend probably two decades ago and commuted on for years:

Nothing fancy here, not even close, but with the occasional hub service they’ve held up admirably:

I had recently noticed a bit of a wobble in the rear wheel though, so I put it on my crappy truing stand:

It really is a crappy truing stand.

This was the first time I’d ever tried to true this wheel, and some of the spokes were clearly seized in the nipples, resulting in wind-up. I figured it was best not to mess with things too much, so I tweaked the cooperative spokes, did a few push-ups on the wheel to eliminate the wind-up in the others, and called it good. Finally I gave the bike the other pair of those budget 23mm tires I’d ordered, and while we’ll probably need to make some fit adjustments since he’s growing so fast you can practically see it happening in real time, overall this bike too is in a pretty good place:

Of course, if I’m taking him to the velodrome sooner or later I’m going to want to ride on it myself, so next it was time to put my Double-Duty Midlife Crisis Fixie Mark II back into track mode:

Chainring, chain, cog, “new” (old) tires, saddle and seatpost, stem and bars pedals…and wa-laa!

It’ll probably be my son’s bike once he can fit on it (which at this rate shouldn’t be long), but in the meantime I’m enjoying it.

By now it was time for me to meet my younger son in the schoolbus, so I had to leave the rest of my list unfinished–including the Chonus, which will have to go on another day. Perhaps if it’s raining again tomorrow I’ll get it all done after all. Either way, they say if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself. I can’t say I do a particularly good job, but the price is right, and that’s all that counts.

Hey, I need every last cent to pay the auto mechanic.

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