roadrunnertwice: Joe and bike, at top speed. (YehudaMoon.Joe - Liftoff)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice posting in [community profile] bicycles
Hi! I'm Nick, a city boy with a wee twenty-some-year-old Schwinn Worldsport rekitted into a single-speed. It is light, it is fast, it is resilient, it doesn't look particularly theftworthy, it is a ridiculous teal color, its name is Brigadelle, and it is the only bike that has ever truly fit me like a glove. It is my Epic Mount.

I like to tl;dr about learning how to repair and maintain crap, because learning how to repair and maintain crap is awesome. For example: I learned how to do basic wheel truing last week!

My rear tire blew out while I was asleep last Thursday,* with the front one rapidly approaching critical mass, and instead of just slapping on some new ones and calling it good, I opted to go into Project Mode and finally get that wheel back into some semblance of true. (I'd been leaving my right brakelever released so the wheel could roll freely. 'Nuff said.) The time was pretty much right, since I had a truing stand on hand** and had been meaning to level some wheelskills since forever, so after some comedy with spoke wrench acquisition, I read my Sheldon Brown (plus a few detours) and got down to business. Aaaaaand immediately discovered a broken spoke I'd been riding on for who knows how long. Whoops! (It was still kinda sorta hanging on! I wasn't rolling around with prongs flapping all over the place! …That sounded slightly dirtier than it was meant to.)

Further comedy arose 'cause it was a drive-side spoke, which meant I had to get the freewheel off to replace it. I don't own a freewheel tool. Which meant this step would entail asking some nice mechanic to twist it off for me, except that by this time it was past close on Sunday, I do Das Ninetofiven, and all the shops close at seven or earlier on weeknights. Thus, Vulcan logic dictated that I ride around on the MAX both ways at rush hour carrying a naked bicycle wheel.

So anyway, once the gal at Citybikes got me squared away with a replacement spoke and my freewheel in a paper sack, I actually went and got some shit done.*** And it worked! I can true a wheel now! Kindasorta! Honestly it is a kind of amazing thing to watch happen under your hands; I have a lot more awe for the humble spoked wheel, now.

Thus far I'm only any use against middlin' side-to-side wobbles, because I have neither tensionometer nor dish stick nor expert's feel for spoke tension. (I worked out a little bit of a vertical lump, but that requires more daring adjustments, and I wasn't quiiiiiite ready to really push my luck on this 20-year-old rim.) So I think I'll do some more reading (one of the girls at Citybikes recommend that I try and find one of the books on wheelbuilding, and I've got the library working on it) and then keep an eye out for wheelbuilding classes, or maybe eventually just go it alone if the opportunity arises. But given that I was starting from scratch in a minor crisis sort of situation, I'm declaring this a level up.

* This is what you get if you notice a nasty bulge in the sidewall, decide that it is obviously time to put said vintage 2008 treads out to pasture, and then don't actually do that. I'm lucky it didn't give out while I was on board. :/

** Garage sale special, $5. Included free copy of Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

*** Epilogue: And then after all was said and done, I realized I didn't have any bearing grease on hand and couldn't safely reattach my freewheel. *facepalm* We'll just stop the story there.

Date: 2010-03-18 05:32 am (UTC)
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
Hee! I've ridden the 14 Hawthorne with a rear wheel in hand--complete with flat tire still on it. Messy business, that.

Hello to a fellow Stumptown bike-rider! I'm impressed with your self-help approach to bike maintenance. Me, I'm more of a take-it-to-the-dealer gal (I don't even fix my own flats anymore if I can help it--after a run of, count 'em, NINE flats in a row when my bike was new a few months ago, I said screw it, Bike Gallery downtown is my new BFF).

This is a lovely and entertaining intro post.

Date: 2010-03-18 08:40 am (UTC)
juliet: (bike fixed)
From: [personal profile] juliet
I learnt to build wheels a couple of years ago & it is awesome fun. I have now done 1 x front wheel with regular hub, 1 x front wheel with dynamo hub, and 1 x rear fixed-gear wheel (i.e. symmetrically dished so easier). I judge tension by testing it against another similar existing wheel, mostly :)

Date: 2010-03-20 07:10 am (UTC)
juliet: (bike fixed)
From: [personal profile] juliet
If you have a sense of pitch you can also use the pitch of the twang to compare :) (Obv do be aware that the spoke tension & in particular the pitch will differ between front wheel/rear wheel/fixie-or-ss rear wheel/etc etc.)

Date: 2010-03-18 04:00 pm (UTC)
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
From: [personal profile] sara
Oh, neat. I need to learn to do that; the front tire on my touring bike has been very-slightly-off since I took the bike apart and put it in the trunk of the car a little over a year ago.

And yay, more Oregonians!

Date: 2010-03-20 07:21 pm (UTC)
sara: S (Default)
From: [personal profile] sara
We does! And this week, it is a cheerful bloc that is going, "Sunshine sunshine sun-shine, open up the house!"

They teach wheelbuilding over at CAT, but I haven't made it over there yet to do it.


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