Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednesday News And Views

Bike Shop Tales: So yesterday was Tuesday, but it probably felt like Monday to a lot of you, so today I'm putting an abbreviated "Bike Shop Tales" up for your reading pleasure.

Back in 1995, I bought an old, used Schwinn Voyaguer from Advantage Cyclery that I had convinced a fellow to trade in on a new Bianchi. That Schwinn was then sold to a fellow that did one of the "big" self-supported tours I wrote about in my "Touring Tuesdays" series a year or so ago. (You can enter "Touring Tuesdays" in the search box to read some of those posts)

Anyway, the blue beauty shown here is what has become of that bike. For more on how an old, beat up maroon Voyaguer became this beauty, see my old co-worker "A-Lo's" blog here for "the rest of the story".

Getting It Dialed: The Origin 8 Scout dumped me last weekend and I figured part of the problem was me, part was the conditions, and part of it was the set up. Well, I could do something about the set up!

I swapped out the Origin 8 stem for a longer stem, lowered that stem on the steer tube, and tweaked the "attitude" of the Carnegie's Bar. Bingo! I rode it again Monday afternoon and I could feel a big change to the positive in the handling. Now with some weight on that front wheel, I'll be good to go in that department.

Some readers may also remember that I had problems with the tensioners coming loose and the wheel getting wonky on me. Well, I believe that issue was solved with a Ny-loc nut on the threaded tensioner screw which is acting as a jamb nut against the front of the drop out. So far, so good. The test ride went well. The bike is comfortable, handles well with the new set up, and did what I expected of it. Only one downer: I took the saddle's nose in the "nether regions" and suffered a bit of intense pain for a while. Not unlike biting into a habanero, only "down there". Yeah......

Wha-Ohh!: I was riding the XT Dyna-Sys equipped Specialized yesterday. I decided to roll down to Lower Hartman on my way home for a quick bit of twisty single track. The drop in to Lower Hartman is paved, but it is pretty steep and does a nice right hand to left hand curve in the middle where you gain a ton of speed.

On the way in, I saw another cyclist, and that thing I despise about myself kicked in. You know- I just had to pass this guy. I hung back about 50 yards, following him into the approach to the downhill. Then I saw that he braked going into the right hander. That was it. I never touched the brakes. I caught him and dropped him like he was standing still. I flew the rest of the way down, made it on to the gravel road, and dove into the grass trail.

I didn't realize it until later, but I was in the big ring, so I carried a lot of speed into the single track. It felt good. I was getting a little too cocky though, and I ended up getting served my just desserts.  Around a sharp left hander I saw a huge blow down blocking the trail. I was startled by it, and I stabbed my brakes. Well, XT brakes are not very forgiving! I locked the front up, and the tire slid out, knocking the bead loose from the rim. This being a tubeless set up, I lost all the air, and really hit the deck hard guessed it- on my left knee and shoulder. Three times in the span of a week!

They say bad things come in threes, right?

Well, it wasn't all over yet for me. I had a tube, I had a pump, but I didn't have a way to loosen the overtightened Presta valve nut on the tubeless valve stem. Rats! I sat in the bright sunlight thinking. Frogs leapt about all around me, I was so quiet and still as I thought. I fiddled with a couple of ideas but to no avail. Then, in a last ditch effort, I searched my cavernous messenger bag again. 

Bingo! I found a tiny end cutter tool. I applied pressure very carefully, and got a good purchase on the nut. I was victorious! Ha ha! (Funny how such a little thing can become such a huge mountain, and when you remove it, you get all euphoric.)

Well, the tire got repaired, and I made it home, albeit about 45 minutes later than I should have. Mrs. Guitar Ted re-dressed the wound I biffed again, and life was good.

But I gotta get this crashing outta my system!


Wally Kilburg said...

Man, I hate to admit it but the tales of you crashing are starting to get so regular I'm looking forward to it!

Hang tough GT! Stay upright!

George said...

You either have to stop falling over, or get better at it!

Captain Bob said...

Bad things happen in 3's and 7's I've always heard. Wally, we could be in for quite a series of crash stories.......

grannygear said...

Good thing you married a nurse.

mw said...

that blue bike is pure sexy

MG said...

Good story... But keep yourself off the ground, OK?!!

Hope to see you soon, brother.