Monday, December 27, 2010

Building a Touring Bike

This winters I plan on building myself a touring bike and blogging about the experience.  My thought process on this is, if I can learn how to put a bike together then I can certain work on and repair any bike that I own.  Please keep in mind that when I have a project that is being worked on something always goes wrong, I fail to read the instructions properly or I purchase the wrong piece, or I need a new tool (This usually is just an excuse to purchase a new tool), and the cost is always more then I plan on.  Last winter I built myself a wooden Kayak, which I will talk about in a later blog.  I have already purchase the frame and front forks, for the bike, they are a beautiful dark metallic green color and the price was really good.  Below I am including a list of items I will be acquiring as the winter moves forward.

1) Headset, stem, and handle bars
2) Wheel Set
3) Bottom bracket, crank set, and front derailleur
4) Cassette, rear derailleur, and chain
5) seat and seat post
6) brakes, shifters, and cables.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

For those who read this blog I just wanted to wish you a Very Merry Christmas

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chasing Rabbits

This week myself and two friend, Statler and Waldorf (not their real names) took a Thursday and headed out to one of the local ski area's, 49 Degrees North, to do some snowshoeing.  Statler had "organized" the trip.  Thursday morning we loaded up my car and head to the Mountain.  When we arrive the first hitch in our plan became apparent, you need to permit to use the trails and the ski area was closed, there was no way to buy a permit, even worse the trails were posted no trespassing.  Waldorf, thinking on his feet remembered an old logging road just down the hill that he and his wife previously hiked and we all agreed to give it a try.  Down the hill we drove and found the spot.  I parked the car in the only parking space there with the front end point uphill, this is an important point.  As we were gearing up, strapping on the snowshoes and hoisting the packs my car began to roll backwards, there was only about 5 feet between the back end of my car and the highway, Waldorf managed to jump in the car from the passenger side and push the brake with his hand stopping the car from become just another pile of scrap metal on the highway, for some inexplicable reason the car rolls, while in park, backwards.  I had to turn the car around and pull the emergency brake to make sure it would not roll onto the highway, to double insure the car was still there when we returned I place ice chunks under the wheels as chalks, where a logging truck might find occasion to display his superior size and weight in the side of my vehicle. 

Now everything was ready and we headed up the trail/road.  As far as hiking goes this was relatively easy walking.  We followed a set of moose tracks the entire day and as the title suggest rabbit tracks.  I see a great deal of rabbit tracks but never a rabbit while out in the snow.  It is more then entertaining to listen to my friends trying to identify trees, they were both Air Force survival instructors, and they could not distinguish between Lodgepole Pines or White Pines, not that I know what a White Pine looks like. 

After a day of changed plan and rolling cars, and yes snowshoeing, we stopped off in the town of Chewelah at a mom and pop deli/bookstore, what a great combination.  The books were 99 cents each and the food excellent.  There really is no better way to end a day in the outdoors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Joy of bike repair

This past summer the front derailleur on my mountain bike broke. When I purchased my bike I was looking for something affordable with a good frame.  The frame was the most important consideration because the rest could be replaced as more money became available.  Cost being an important aspect of every purchase and repair I chose to do all the work myself, so to that end I picked up a book on bicycle maintenance and repair and read the section about front derailleurs several times, truth be know several is really not the right word.  I thought I understood what type of bracket was used on my bike, an E-ring which requires a special bolt on location.   After the part arrive I had a friend, with the proper tools, help me take the old one off only to discover that no such bolt on connection existed and returning the derailleur for another one with the appropriate bracket type, a clamp on, was my only option.  Fortunately the company I order the part from, Excel Sports Boulder, only charged me shipping.

Move ahead one week, the new part arrived and my friend and I got the derailleur onto the bike, oh happy day.  But the next problem presented itself, the new derailleur required a thinner chain than the current one.  Can you imagine that, I never knew chains came in different widths before.  Back to the internet I went and this time through Amazon, I purchased a thinner chain, again it took about one week to arrive, I am cheap when it comes to shipping costs.  Now it should be simple enough to change out the chain, right, I wish that had been so.  First thing to happened was I broke my chain brake tool while shortening the new chain to match the old one, and had to purchase another at a local variety store.  I finally got my chain to the right length fed it through the system and put in the pin, now I am done, right?  Boy couldn't be more wrong, I fed the chain over the top of a tab between the two small wheel at the rear derailleur.  Arrrrggggg!!!!!  This time I went to REI and purchased a couple of extra pins, just in case, and restrung my chain put in the new pin.  Since it is now snowing it will be spring before I discover for sure if everything was done correctly.

I suppose the lesson here is to do a bit more research and pay closer attention to how parts were put together before removing them so that the process can be duplicated properly.