This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Listening to the body and the bike.

 As I have reached a newer level of maturity ("newer level of maturity," is that a cute way to say old or what?) one thing I have begun to acknowledge is that I have to pay more attention to what my body is saying.   Sometimes after a week long tour it is screaming, "Lie down dumbass!"  I did.  Practically all week.  I rode my bike a few times to the store to get some more fruits and veggies to keep me away from the enticing chips and sweets, but I really haven't done more than that.  The problem was more than the normal rest, my right shoulder got strained somehow and I've been nursing it with lots of sleep and liniment.   It's better now.  I probably bunged up a muscle trying to ford one of the creeks on the IM trail.  I should get a Purple Brooks award for that.
   I feel better now, but have to pay attention to the Hunq which had a couple of wounds as well.  I didn't mention the flat tire which forced me to walk clear across Ottawa to get a spare.  Yep, something hit my brand spankin' new Big Ben and split it wide open across the Kevlar belt.  The gash was so wide I had to buy Gorilla Tape at a local hardware store to make a boot strong enough to hold any air at all.  After that I could walk 5 miles across town with it since the LBS in Ottawa (conveniently located on the IM trail) is only open for the convenience of the owners; Friday-Monday.  Well I did benefit from finding a tire which will serve well as a folding spare in the future.

  It's called an Iron Horse 29er and actually finished the ride.  I'm replacing it with a new Big Ben but will carry the Iron Horse as a spare in the future.  I found it at Farm and Fleet.  It was only 20 bucks and seems to fill the purpose.   It has a moderate tread in the middle which rolls quickly on pavement and is full of small knobs around the side which help on the softer trail surfaces.

It also has a Kevlar bead which means it folds quite neatly to be tucked into the saddlebag for a future emergency, which I assume will never happen now that I have a viable spare.
   The other wound to the Hunq was a subtle reminder of all the wisdom which has gone into the development of sealed bearings.  Aren't they great?  It reminded me of the day I chose my TREK 560 back in the 80's.  Specialized had a comparable model with the all new miracle sealed bearing everything which "never, needed maintainence or adjustment."  I chose the TREK with old fashioned bearings I could clean, inspect and adjust.  Well. these pedals proved my point.
Sealed bearings decide to fail on their schedule, without warning, no matter where in Buttheadistan you might be.  Believe me the trip between Chicago and Galesburg Illionis is that void in which exists that one aforementioned LBS in Ottawa.  Fortunately I was able to limp along on a cage slipped over the axle with no bearings until I came to a hardware store which had a pair of $5 mountain bike pedals.
Miraculously they were more comfortable than the VP Components Thin Gripsters.  With just 2 years and one month behind them, the Gripsters failed, the left first and the right a few days later.  I cannot recommend them to anybody.
            Needless to say, I am opting for serviceable bearings on the replacement.  I've been happy with the MKS paddles called the Lambda or Grip King, depending whose website you see.  I'm adding the spikes since that is a good idea on long trips and the only thing I would recommend as a legacy of the Gripsters.
This experience brings up a point people don't understand about technology.  All these minor adjustments which are sold has the "latest, greatest" advancements are OK for any spandex hamster riding close to home or in a charity ride with a sag wagon around.  For somebody who actually goes from one place to another on a bike, "new and shiny" can be a liability.  It makes friction shifting seem like a pretty darned good idea when you consider repairing a brifter out on the highway.
The Hunq has had a bath now, a new shoe for the back wheel and pedals I can tear apart, inspect and service.  While I was at it I replaced the large and small chainrings which were really worn.  I went down from 48 to 44 on the large and 26 to 24 on the small.  That should make the large chainring much more useful in the future and give me the ability to climb trees if need be.
We are both repaired and ready for the next great adventure.


  1. Nice recovery, all around. Sounds like you are ready to roll again, and I look forward to reading about and seeing the Hunq in action.

    1. We'll be looking forward to next month's diversion!

  2. I rode from Oak Park to Morris and camped last Friday before returning. That section was smooth, except for a large tree that fell across the trail north of Romeoville on Friday night.

    1. The section from Morris to the east was the section I rode both ways on the trip. It was fine, I did notice that tree on the way back, but that was no big deal compared to the damage on the westward leg.

  3. All of my wrenching experience has been in a bike co-op where we mostly work on older bikes people have donated. I've developed a real fondness for cup and cone hubs!

    By the way, my spouse uses the MKS Lambda pedals and loves them. I'm using MKS Sylvan touring pedals and like them a lot.

    1. As I was just telling a friend of mine who owns a shop; there is no reason to revert to the "antiquated" technology, except that it works!