I was pretty happy to not have to go anywhere this weekend. Yesterday, once I got home from a really nice ride up to Hawk Mountain with some friends in the morning, the farthest I went from my couch was to Allentown. Today, after The Derby, the farthest I ventured was to the far side of the triangle for some take out Thai food.
It was pretty awesome, really.
In the midst of a whole lot of couch sitting, I had a bit of wrenching to do, which was somewhat cathartic, and sometimes frustrating, but also a lot of fun. I don't get to do much wrenching these days -- mostly because I'm not competent enough to be of much help to Mike in the office workshop, but also because I've been fortunate not to have too many mechanical problems this year, or many bike projects. That all ended this weekend.
Things started out on a positive note, when I went to hang components on what is, unquestionably, the most unusual bike that's ever been in my workstand, a custom steel bike built by Kelly Bedford for an upcoming Bicycling Magazine test. Not just an unusual frame, the bike is getting some unusual components in the form of SRAM Red, in black. More normal components include wheels, a bar, stem and post from Easton, Fizik saddle, and Continental tires. Mike's going to finish the build this week (because I'd fuck it up), but I was happy to be able to at least start the process. I expect that he'll have an especially good time with the internally routed brake cable -- but he'll at least know how to do it, unlike me, who would probably try use some combination of dental floss and old spokes to thread the housing through.
Here's the bike as it appeared on Friday afternoon, before I'd tracked down a clamp for the front derailleur, pictured with the painted-to-match Serotta fork:
I'm looking forward to getting this guy on the road soon
Integrated features include the press-in headset and BB30
Speaking of doing things the wrong way, while riding my bike up Hawk Mountain with friends on Saturday morning, two of my chain ring bolts broke. I heard some creaking start on the climb's steeper pitch, and although it was certainly not a good noise, I thought it was just a creak in the bottom bracket or a hub wanting some grease or spokes relieving themselves of some pressure, or something. Then, no sooner had the creak started, it stopped, and the chain popped off. I'd having a really nice trip up the hill, and was pretty bummed to be interrupted mid-climb. I stopped to put the chain back on, only to discover that it was wedged between the two rings -- and that the inner ring was bent pretty far toward the inside.
So, I finished the climb in the big ring (which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be). At the top, we ran into the Saturday morning Velo ride, and Torch helped me redistribute the remaining three bolts in what he appropriately dubbed a "home-getter," as in, it'll get you home. It did, though I was restricted to the big ring from the rest of the day.
Today, after getting a new set of rings from Dan (who just happened to have a spare set in his car, for some reason), I went to pull the crank to replace the rings, only to find (unsurprisingly), that I'm not strong enough to loosen the bolt. So, after struggling with it for 30 minutes, I gave up and resolved to find a bigger wrench tomorrow. Then I cleaned my toilet and microwave, which was at least as important to my mental well being as fixing my bike. I did not vacuum, though, which I'd really wanted to do, but there are way too many bikes in here right now to accomplish anything.
I've never been a good mechanic, but I've always liked trying. Working at a bike shop gave me a good opportunity to learn from lots of grate mechanics, but I don't often have the chance to use those skills -- or to build on them. So, today was a rare opportunity, and I'm glad I took advantage -- because even if I can't do every job, it's satisfying to try -- just like it will be satisfying to sit on a clean pot in the morning.