Saturday, November 28, 2009

RIDE REPORT: Taking advantage of the weather

The weather has been extremely nice for late November. Mid 40's to Mid 50's, low wind, sunny. Perfect for a couple of extended Thanksgiving weekend rides. Yesterday, I took the Quickbeam out for a nice half-century spin through the Iowa countryside. Today, I pulled the Le Tour off the rack and with a bit of tuning, had it ready for another 35 today.

The Bleriot has been getting a lot of attention lately, so I decided to pull a couple of other bikes out for my rides this weekend. The Quickbeam was as smooth as ever, still one of my favorite rides. My favorite thing about it is how smooth it derailer (Sheldon sp) no shifting, fixed gear, easy to ride, floats down the road. I did have to do a bit of tuning before I took off. I noticed the left hand BB cup was unscrewing to I pulled the crank to tighten it up a bit. It's one of the cheaper Shimano BB's so the cup is plastic. Unfortunately, I discovered the cup was cracked, probably from the huge torque generated by my massive quads :>). I dug the defective VO bottom bracket out of my tool box and extracted its BB cup. Lo and and behold, it fit perfectly! Plus, it's made of some alloy so I probably won't have to worry about it cracking. I could have thrown the VO bracket in the trash, but now I'm glad I kept it around. You never know when some component might come in handy in a pinch. Anyway, it was a great ride that day!

Today, I pulled the Le Tour off the rack, since it hadn't been ridden for awhile. I decided it needed some attention so put it up on the bike stand for a quick tune-up. Lubed the chain, adjusted the rear derailer so I could use the Suntour downtube shifter in index mode (shifting was a bit off), pumped up the tires and took off. It was another beautiful day, even nicer than yesterday.

As I was pulling a hill, I shifted into the small chainring. I'd been running in the big ring for the most part and hadn't really noticed, but when it tried to upshift in the small chainring the derailer just would not move. No problems in the big ring whatsoever, just the small ring. What the heck? Anyway, I shifted back into the big ring and had no problems getting back home, and the issue certainly didn't detract from my ride enjoyment.

I had to put the bike back up on the stand to try and figure out what was wrong. Why wouldn't the rear derailer shift in the small ring, but work just fine in the big ring? I noticed while in the small ring the derailer cage was pushed up against the cassette when I was in the largest cassette cog...once it was in that gear it was just jammed there and the cage spring would not pull it back out. As I looked closer, I could see the problem. There was no B-adjustment at all because there was no spring tension to hold the derailer cage away from the cassette. The tab on the derailer fits into a notch on the dropout, and the tab was not in its right place. That means the guy that pulled the derailer off last to clean it (ahem!), didn't replace the tab in the right orientation, thus no B-spring tension. It was easy enough to loosen the derailer, rotate the tab back into the dropout notch, and retighten. After a bit a of adjustment everything was hunky-dory.

I really have to think about getting a new bike mechanic. Unfortunately, the one I have works for peanuts! :>)


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