March 24, 2008

White Easter

We had a green Christmas this year and a somewhat white Easter. My in-laws were visiting, and I could spend spare moments reading Glenn's New Complete Bicycle Manual. This book has answered all my questions and I give it five stars out of five. Equipped with new and useful facts I set to work on our family's four bicycles. It took three and a half days and many rags to adjust cups and cones, clean chains, replace brake pads and lubricate everything in sight. I remodeled the workroom a few months ago for bikes and can report that I wish I had more space. I finished my weekend bike repair jag by putting new training wheels and a new inner tube on A's bike.

While going through my own bike I found that the grease in the front bearing was so dirty and dry that I could lift it out with tweezers. Glenn's allowed me to disassemble the bearing, clean it, pack with grease, replace bearings and adjust the cones to give a smooth ride. I chickened out and did NOT replace the lubricant in my Shimano Nexus Inter4 internal gear hub, after reading in Glenn's and Sheldon Brown's Most Excellent Bike Mechanics Website that the two main reasons for failure in these otherwise sturdy and dependable hubs are people who take them apart, and people who use the wrong lubricant. I am hoping that by cleaning the filth off the external cable levers and by cleaning the cables that the hub will work better in cold weather, like we'll be having this next week; the winds are in retrograde giving us Arctic air from Siberia.

You can learn a lot about a person by cleaning and adjusting their bike. For example the weekend's project confirmed my suspicions that my wife spends more time riding off-road, through dirt, sand and leaves, than our 11-year old son.

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. It was an unusually early and warm spring that year, as our best man can attest. Today I gave my wife a miniature orchid (she has so many orchids that there's no space for a normal sized one) and some roses, and she gave me a bicycle computer, which I have always wanted but would never buy for myself.

While talking with my in-laws, I figured out how to build a lego car driven by a battery and motor. I excused myself and built this:

It was an instant hit with the kids. We also got some time to play with the electronics experiment kit and build a telegraph and an electrical motor (see below). My son sent a message in Morse code: 'Can I play computer games?' 'Eat your food' I replied.



At March 25, 2008 9:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of the weather and other parts of that trip. I have pictures that remind me that I balled my suit jacket up and carried it around at the bottom of my suit jacket before your wedding. I also have fond memories of the musilix at your inlaws' house.

At March 25, 2008 9:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was my first comment using openId. It lets you know that I am who I claim to be and not someone else. I does not get me out of entering "xkslut" in the word verification form below.

At March 26, 2008 1:53 PM , Blogger rigtenzin said...

It's important to wear a white, mechanic's smock when repairing bicycles. I usually have a beer on hand too.

At March 26, 2008 4:15 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

We made a team at work for a month-long biking/health competition. I stupidly volunteered to organize a team meeting and fix everyone's bike. I am thinking of dressing up like one of those mechanics in Glenn's-- white lab coat and tie, pocket protector. We will recreate the golden age of biking. What I imagine I will do is clean chains until my machine mysteriously breaks.

At March 26, 2008 4:16 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Maybe if I had been drinking more I would have been able to swap out the grease in that Shimano hub.


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