Archive for the ‘Bicycling’ Category

Bicycle Wheel Rebuild

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

It started as an assortment of parts

wheel parts for rebuild

wheel parts for rebuild

  • old Wienmann A129 rim (great touring rim)
  • new DT 14 gauge stainless spokes in two lengths
  • new DT spoke nipples
  • old greythumb nipple lube
  • new old stock malliard heliomatic hub
  • rim tape
  • old skewer
  • park nipple wrench
  • Jobst Bradt’s book: “The Bicycle Wheel”
  • and a few hours later I have a new wheel…

    wheel together and mounted onbike

    wheel together and mounted onbike

    One thing about truing your own wheels, they are going to be as true as the rim allows, if you have the patience to really fine tune them. I don’t have a runout gauge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the runout measured 1/100″ or so on this newly built wheel.

    Total cost was about $100, but I ended up with a spare used hub in addition to the new old stock hub when I pulled the trigger on an ebay auction a couple of days before the NOS hub came up.

    Now to find a NOS hub for the front of my lightweight training wheel set – the bearings bind on that one unless the hub is put in the fork in a certain orientation.

    Eventful bike ride

    Sunday, July 20th, 2014

    I had some issues during yesterdays bike ride.

  • strange sounds started eminating from the rear end. I stopped to check it out. Since it sounded a bit like the twanging of spokes and just last week I experienced a broken spoke, I decided to tighten the spokes on one side half a turn.
  • after the noise continued, I made a decision to continue the full ride, at a slow pace, instead of cutting it short.
  • a few miles later the noise increased and I got off the bike to check it out. turns out the bearings in the rear hub where completely shot
  • I did have a phone with me, but since it was 7:00 AM and the rest of the household are late risers, I decided to walk home
  • The bearings were so bad that the wheel would not track within the frame even when walking. Intermittant tire rub on chain stays, for the full walk home
  • about 1/3 the way home I slightly twisted my ankle. Started regretting deciding to walk home in cycling shoes
  • another mile and I twisted my ankle again – much worse this time
  • a little ways further on, I decided to remove the cleats from from my cycling shoes to make walking easier
  • cycling shoes slipping going up a steep hill
  • got home around 10, making it a 15 mile “ride” at an average speed of under 4 miles an hour
  • took the rear hub apart and found only a single broken ball in the right side races. The rest of the balls on that side must have disintegrated and fell out
  • the race in the right side cone is bad and an internet search reveals that cones are no longer available. Guess I’ll find a replacement hub. Meanhwile I’ll use my spare set of wheels
  • 2nd “annual” bike to work day was yesterday

    Thursday, June 26th, 2014

    My last “annual” ride to work day was four years ago.

    Here is how yesterday’s annual event went.

    The sun woke me up at 4:40 AM. – those who don’t live in Eastern New England probably don’t realize that in the summer the sun rises early here. Since I was up, I decided I might as well use the time and take my bike to work. I packed some work clothes, shoes, a towel and my laptop in my panniers. I reviewed my route using google maps, printed directions and headed out the door a little past 5:30AM. I didn’t get lost, even thought the directions are 3 pages long and include something like 40 steps on this years improved 27 mile route. By the time I reached the hills of Littleton and Boxborough, fatigue was starting to set in a little bit. However, I arrived a little after 8:00AM without too much difficulty. Due to the early hour, traffic was light and the weather not a problem.

    During my work day, I checked the weather a few times and saw the temperature reaching over ninety. I figured I’d melt on the way home.

    I left for home around 5:00 PM. Only one wrong turn this time, and I only went about 100 feet before realizing the mistake. While waiting to cross a road, a jogger mentioned that due to the heat, that it was heart attack weather. He was happy to take the break while waiting for the walk light. Though it was in the 80s, the humidity wasn’t too high, so the temperature wasn’t unbearable to me. Also, a tailwind helped me over most of the route. Unlike last time, I didn’t completely bonk. However fatigue was definately a factor for the last few miles. I reached home around 7:30.

    5 hours on the bike and 54 miles is a lot for me in one day. However it is a lot more interesting than a hour on the freeway in the car. Who knows, maybe I’ll get in another “annual” ride to work in, before the summer is over.

    1st Annual Commute to Work by Bicycle Day

    Thursday, August 19th, 2010

    Finished my first annual commute to work by bicycle event today. I’ve done this in the past, but never to a workplace so far away from home.

    Due to the number of busy roads around here, I carefully planned the route ahead of time in order to minimize traffic. The resulting google directions took 3 pages, not counting the useless map.

    I left for work shortly after 7:00AM. I got lost twice on back roads I’ve never been on before. Saw a big doe along the way. Next time I’ll see if I can avoid planning commuting routes on roads named “Hill Road” and “Crestview Road”, especially near the end of the ride. Altogether it took 3 hours to travel the 26 miles. Arrived at work after 10:00AM.

    I decided to leave at 4:00 in order to make sure I got home before darkness. Even though I bonk’d with 6 or 7 miles to go, getting home only took 2.5 hours and there was plenty of daylight left.

    All in all a great day, but due to the time involved and resulting shortened work day, I will not be able to repeat this effort very often -I think once a year is about it.

    Mike’s Great Adventure: Picking the Trip

    Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

    After my trip through North Florida in early 1987, I thought I was ready for something more adventurous. There was really only one organization that sponsored unsupported tours of the type I was interested in. This was Bicentennial (now known as Adventure Cycling Association). I looked through their brochure to find something that would appeal to me. This is the the cover to the 1988 brochure (the 1987 brochure I was actually using would have been similar).

    1988 Bikecentennial Tours


    and here is the complete 1988 brochure.
    There was one trip that really grabbed my attention. It went through territory that I hadn’t been in before and had the right length of 3 weeks. This was the Great Parks North trip.
    Great Parks North Trip Summary

    Great Parks North Trip Summary

    Mike’s Great Adventure – the trip before the adventure

    Monday, July 5th, 2010

    It is early 1987, my interest in sailing was dwindling. I began to dream of taking a bicycle camping trip.  Always a voracious reader, several books inspired me, especially “Miles from Nowhere, A Round the World Bicycle Adventure” In my opinion, this is one great book.

    I was inspired and had done plenty of riding to get in shape. However none of my cycling friends were interested in such an adventure.  Not wanting to go it alone, I looked in magazines for tours that I thought I would enjoy.  I decided to start with a week long trip.  The one I selected wasn’t too far from home.  This was  a week long van supported bicycle tour of North Florida conducted by a little outfit called “Suwanee Country Tours”.  A van carried our bags, and we slept in motels and hotels.

    We travelled several hundred miles through rural north Florida, making new friends and generally having a good time.  There was some weather along the way, but our GOR-TEX rainsuits made it bearable.

    A Rainy Day

    A Rainy Day


    Even though it was long ago, I remember a couple of moments on this tour. One was this lunch stop at the fire tower. I’m not sure why this lunch break is recalled so well, but it probably had something to do with the brilliant weather.
    Swanee Country Tours Van at Fire Watchtower

    Swanee Country Tours Van at Fire Watchtower


    Part of the trip was through pretty rolling hills, and another section through flat pine lands that were actively being logged. During this tour, we encountered a gas station at an off ramp on I-10 that sold ice cream cones for 10 cents. Even in 1987, that was a great deal.

    The Group Takes a Brief Break

    The Group Takes a Brief Break

    One thing that I really will never forget about this trip, was one of the last nights. We were staying at an old fashioned wood framed hotel. Dave, our tour guide, had hired a local woman to make us diner. Well this women appeared to be a real Florida cracker. She didn’t wear shoes. Other than the lack of shoes, her dress was country, with a long skirt down to her ankles. She made us fried catfish in a large kettle. That was the first time I had eaten catfish, and to this day, the only time that I have had really good catfish. Boy was that catfish yummy. Nearly as good as her catfish was the Pecan Pie she brought for desert. Boy could that woman cook.

    I slept in a downstairs room that night, while the rest of the group were upstairs. When I had to get up for a potty break in the middle of the night, I discovered that the place was literally alive with cockroaches. I never have seen so many cockroaches in one place, before or since. It creeped me out so much that I could hardly sleep after that. Boy was I glad to get out of there in the morning. I’m guessing that the folks upstairs didn’t encounter the same problem, because they never said anything.

    Group Mug Shot

    Group Mug Shot


    Anyway, despite the cockroaches, it was a great trip and I made a bunch of new friends.

    To retrace this road…

    Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    this blog thread will take you back in time to 1987. I was single, about 30 years old, and had a good job as a software engineer. I had plenty of time, money and passion for competition and adventure.

    I lived in Florida and had been racing Prindle catamaran sailboats as a hobby for over five years.

    My friend Phil flying a hull on the Atlantic Ocean

    My group of sailing friends were also full of adventure. Sailing and racing 300 pound, 16 foot long boats with a bunch of sail area on the Atlantic Ocean was not for scaredy cats. It was a physically and mentally demanding sport. We pushed those little boats to the limits and frequently beyond. Damaged and broken boats were not uncommon. Bodily damage was mostly limited to sunburn, cuts and bruises. The number of near misses were countless.

    At the time, I felt that winning sailboat races was the toughest thing I had tried to succeed at. Maybe to this day, there is nothing I’ve tried harder and longer at mastering.

    Sherry and Sue show off matching bruises after a particularly tough day on the water - we were sure that some visitors to the beach thought that we beat our girlfriends because of all the bruises

    Eventually some of the group that I enjoyed racing with, started drifting away from sailing. Marriages came and babies followed and priorities changed. New people were slow to enter the sport as the brand new sport of windsurfing was much less expensive to get into and took far less effort to participate in. The people that remained in the sport were investing in bigger, more expensive boats that required crews. I preferred racing my boats single-handed. As the group slowly drifted apart, I started losing interest in catamaran racing, and found myself spending more and more time on my bicycle.

    Coming Soon…

    Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

    An illustrated blog retracing the low tech road I travelled for three weeks in the summer of 1988.