The Old Switcheroo

Last whatever it was, I mentioned a slipping shifter situation on the Cervino (say that ten times fast):

One or two of you asked why I don’t want to use Loctite, and the answer is that I’d rather see if I can solve the underlying problem before resorting to thread lockers, in the same way that I always try to meditate in order to alleviate stress rather than just pouring myself a whiskey:

So yesterday I went back to the shifters again. Theoretically you’re not supposed to lube these things, because friction, but since they’re over 40 years old I thought maybe the nylon inserts had hardened with age and that a tiny bit of grease might help somehow. First I popped them out, then I greased them very lightly, then I wiped all the grease off again, figuring whatever microscopic amount of residue was still left on there was probably more than enough. Next, on a whim, I reversed them, putting the right one into the left shifter and vice versa. Then I went for a ride:

While it’s early yet and I’m not yet ready to say the problem is solved, it’s definitely greatly improved, because on a 20-ish mile ride I didn’t have to snug up the thumb screws once:

I’m not sure what happened, but maybe reversing them around somehow refreshed them in the same way you can flip around a worn chainring. If this does turn out to have fixed it, hopefully I just bought them another 40 years. In any case, the bike feels fantastic, and part of the fun of riding a classic is learning how it works. (And I’d still rather have to twiddle a screw every now and again than charge a battery.

Speaking of how classic bikes work, I appreciated this recent video from Park Tool:

The fact that these bikes are so simple is indeed what makes working on them and riding them both enjoyable and enlightening…even if this is clearly just more Park Tool propaganda designed to sell freewheel removers and pin spanners:

Moving on, everyone in New York City is a bike commuter…until it rains:

Some people may prefer sunny days, but as far as I’m concerned ideal bike commuting weather is when it’s raining just enough to keep everyone else off their bikes but not enough to actually get you wet–especially if you’re riding a bike with fenders and are properly attired:

And yes, this is pants propaganda–specifically for the Vulpine Mens Rain Trousers, shown here on a guy with fashionable stubble and a bike with a belt drive:

Here they are on a schlubby semi-professional bike blogger with a Rivendell:

They’re light, they’re comfortable, and they kept me dry in the drizzle. If on top of that they turn out to be durable then I’d say Vulpine’s got themselves a winner. I’ll keep you posted.

There was more bike traffic in the evening, and for all my complaining about motor scooters and the like, the scene on the Brooklyn Bridge on this particular occasion was quite tranquil and orderly:

Even the e-bro on the electric motorcycle was taking it easy:

I generally believe in offering assistance to people who seem to be having mechanical trouble, but in this case I did not:

I admit I’m afraid to go anywhere near a Citi Bike mechanically speaking, and even if I could, say, manage repair a flat on one, I don’t like the idea of donating an inner tube to Lyft, Inc. Anyway, it’s not like someone with a busted Citi Bike is ever that far from another station where they can swap it for a new one, and if you’re in a jam with a Citi Bike it’s probably a lot easier to do that then it is to deal with some idiot in fancy rain pants. I’m similarly disinclined to stop when riding the Cervino, since all I really carry on that is a spare tubular, and unless they happen to need one too I’m probably not in any position to help them.

But if you’ve got a slipping friction shifter I’m your guy.

Powered by

Up ↑