I've been building a lot of wheels lately, which reminds me.....
Back in the old Advantage Cyclery days, I learned how to build wheels from Tom, the owner, as I have posted on before. The really cool thing about Advantage was that there was never a lack of stock for building up a set of hoops, if you wanted the practice.
Tom would routinely buy "close outs" of stock from bicycles to components. We ended up with a fair amount of Campagnolo 26 inch Thor mountain bike rims, which always seemed to build up really tough, strong mountain bike wheels. We also had a bunch of older Campy clincher road rims, and I built several sets of those up.
Tom was a Wheelsmith guy. Basically, you were either on the Wheelsmith train, or the DT Swiss train back then. Tom had all the Wheelsmith wheel building tools- the calculator, the whole bit. It was a nifty system to learn from, and I got on with it straight away. I never knew anything about DT Swiss stuff, or Sapim, or whatever flavor your wheel building tendencies go towards, because I was never exposed to that stuff, and well, I didn't ever see the need to get into anything else back then. Wheelsmith was working just fine, thank you very much.
Anyway, back to wheels. I built a set of road wheels in the waning days of Advantage Cyclery that were Campy Athena rims laced to Shimano hubs that I ended up putting on my in town commuter bike. I rode that bike in all sorts of nasty weather. Winter, rain, mud, you name it. They always stayed true, and I just kept throwing tires and brake pads on there until one fateful day.
I was just coming out of the alley way two blocks from my home on my way from work when....BOOM! It happened. I blew off about 40% of the rear rims side wall on the drive side and came to an instant halt. Good thing I was slowing down and only doing about 10mph!
It was kind of sad, because that was the last wheel set I had that I built at Advantage Cyclery. Oh well! I got all the goody outta that one!
Next week: More wheel stories on Bike Shop Tales..............