Thursday, May 26, 2011

i am a bad mechanic. i am a baaaaad mechanic.

Admission: I do not always take the best care of my bikes.

..::ducking now to avoid the wet shop rags that will surely be thrown at me by pals Justin and Chris over at Crank::..

Like many who work full-time in the bicycle industry, I have more than one bike (though with a grand total of four, I am far below the national average for shop rats, most of whom have nine or more): a cargo bike, a city bike, a road/touring bike and of course, Stompy.

Stompy is my racing bike, a singlespeed Redline Monocog (26" wheel version) with several parts upgrade to make it lighter and more fun to ride. I raced it all last short-track season, cleaned it, gave it a two-week break in August; then turned around and threw a full season of cyclocross practices and races at it. I raced in December at USGP-Portland. I rode home from the race, rinsed off the worst of the mud, then hung the bike vertically in the Bicycle Brain Trust and went inside to wash the mud and embrocation off my legs.

There it sat for four months.

In April, feeling guilty, I pulled Stompy down off the hook, put it in the stand and gave it a better cleaning. I did NOT pull it all apart, because I simply didn't have time. A frozen pedal was treated with a healthy dose of lube suirted into the tiny space between the pedal body and the spindle; an hour later the pedal turned freely again. I did a cursory truing of the front wheel, which helped. And the bike rides pretty well, all things considered. But I have not yet pulled it all apart to clean the bottom bracket threads, or see if any water has collected in the bottom of the frame, nor have I replaced the sealed bearings in the front wheel (and it's clear that I ought to).

In short, I have been a baaaaaad mechanic.

This next week I have a little more free time so I will doing the inevitable.
Full tear-down, bearing replacement and all.
I sort of HAVE to now.
Short-track begins June 6 and Stompy is rightly pissed at me for months of benign neglect.


daisy said...

No actually a highly competent mechanic and really great bicycle owner. The baaad mechanic will leave it at marginal over use of a WD spray type product and eventual failure during racing conditions. This scenario also plays into bad racing attitude on the course and the ever lovely expensive bike toss in front of the children.

Now my race bike that was hung up in exactly the same way only a bit more than 15 years ago. Last year'ish I actually touched with the intent to air up the tires and take a pedals. Felt the wiggle of bearing death so started wiggling everything, the whole bike was shot. You could hold the bike sideways and shake just right and various bearings could fall out. So now I get to spend the time and money replacing bent Phil axles/bearings, a donor Powerflo freewheel body, 735 pedal spindles/bushings, upgrade bracket for the Bullseye cranks.

Boy if only I took any kind of care of it after it's last race and apparently many races before that it would be a whole ton less expensive.

Enjoy your upcoming quite time working on the race machine.

EvoDavo said...

A friend brought over her 1974 LeTour that hadn't seen action since 1979. It had been put away filthy. As fate would have it, the grease and grime protected almost everything. After cleaning out dirt and grease from the Carter administration, I polished up the bearings and a fresh, thick, coat of grease and it was happy again. New tires, brake pads and cables and it was ready for action.