Saturday, February 9, 2013

Minor adjustments

Time to STP:  155 Days

I have registered for STP!  10:03 Tuesday morning I submitted my information. And as of this writing, the event is 80% sold out.  You can register here, if you want to join the fun.

After finally finishing the tweaks on Betsy this week, I was really looking forward to getting her out this week and feeling my handy work all come to fruition.  I have discovered a few things in the process.  First, that center pull cantilever breaks are kind of a pain to adjust in general, but when I put on the 105 break levers that I had laying around, it made things a little more difficult.  Center pulls are one of the better set ups for touring bikes (which Betsy is) because of their sheer stopping power.  However, the levers I installed are not designed to pull to the degree that center pull requires, so it requires some tweaking (after talking with the shop owner of Bad Monkey and to a friend of mine, they said that this is a problem a lot of people come to)..  I am thinking about replacing the actual center pull bracket today with something that will give me more mechanical advantage.  Truthfully, I should just replace the brake levers, but I don't want to effectively lose all the money I just invested in bar wrap.  Who knows, we will see where this goes in the near future..

I also discovered that I suck at adjusting the rear derailleur,  I haven't spent a ton of time dinking with derailleur's before, but I figured the process would be approximately the same as working with brakes (which, up until this point, I had been successful at).  I am going to have to take Betsy down to Bad Monkey today to get them to adjust it for me.  What has effectively happened is I have lost two entire gears on my main cog, which has made tackling the hill on Mill Plain even more problematic.  Since I plan on doing 20+ miles tomorrow, and I really don't want to have to worry about this anymore, the money will be well spent, but I need to spend some time seeing what they are doing.  I figure I am going to be putting the better part of 1K miles on my bike over the next six months and don't want to do that with 8 speeds only. 

Also, while working on my girlfriends bike last weekend, we discovered that a few things have changed in the last 30 years since her bike was manufactured.  Her bike, a cruiser, is heavy.  I mean, nigh on WalMart bike heavy, but there are several ways to reduce the weight and get better performance from it.  One of which, is switching out her steel rims to aluminum.  And since she rives a sedan, I figured she would also want quick release hubs so she could pack her bike in and out of her front seat.  I picked up a aluminum wheel from Bad Monkey last weekend to help this, but when trying to install it on the front, i realized quickly that the spacing was different (as in stock was 100mm while the new hub was spaced at 110mm).  Generally (since this is a steel fork) this would just require bending the fork out.  However, moving from a bolt through hub to a quick release also offered its own special set of issues.  Stock was something on the order of 5/16" while modern is around 7/16".  Whilst talking with the shop owner at Bad Monkey, I was trying to brainstorm ideas, and basically just trying to do what it was I was doing required a single tool: a file.  This is my weekend project (I will post photos).

Who would have known that I would be learning so much while training for this race about bikes?

Total miles for the week is just over 50, which I am happy about.  I have rode three mornings this week plus today.  I am getting there, slowly.  Incidentally, if you want to track my progress for STP or just use a great app, check out Runkeeper.  They just did a new update and are making improvements all the time. 

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