Thursday, February 26, 2015

One of those days ...

Yesterday was one of those days.

I had a few errands to run, including dropping an old carpet off at the dump on the way to collect some gear for work.

The cargo bike was great for taking the carpet to the dump, and cost only $5, whereas the minimum charge when dumping from a car is $15, so my bargain centre was happy.  Also, it is always fun to see the reactions of the staff at the dump when you arrive on a bicycle carrying a large load.

However, this and other recent heavy work, and hopping down a few too many gutters had caused a problem.

Well, actually, me needing to replace spokes in the back wheel a few months ago was the real problem.  I couldn't find the strong dutch spokes at the time, and so the bike shop rebuilt the back wheel using thinner Australian spokes, and so the back wheel hasn't been as strong as it should.

Anyway, when I got back from running the errands, it was obvious that a few spokes had broken and a few more were on the way out.

So after work I went to the local bike shop, who fortunately are open until 9pm on Thursdays and got a set of new spokes, so that I could fit them at home overnight, and have the bike ready for this morning.  This is the only problem with using the bike 7 days a week, every week, there is no convenient down time to leave it with a bike shop for a few days to do the work for me. That said, the work isn't usually too hard to do myself, and it is cheaper to do ones own bike maintenance, if you have the skills.

With some trouble we measured the length of the spokes, and for $1 a spoke, I had a spare set of 36.

I got home, started disassembling the wheel, and realised that I had forgotten to pick up the spoke nipples.  So another trip back to the bike shop (this time on my mountain bike since the cargo-bike was in pieces by now).  Then I realised that the spokes were too short, we hadn't been able to measure them exactly while they were still in the wheel.  So a third trip to the bikes hop ensued.  Finally I had all the components.

I am getting reasonably practiced at removing the back wheel now, but today for some reason when I removed the roller-brake, which is supposed to be impossible to disassemble, fell apart in my hands when I removed it.  It took me nearly an hour to get it back together, during which time I had a scheduled international call for work.  It was kind of fun and slightly surreal pottering on the bike talking to a guy in the UK while I worked, and completely unthinkable 20 years ago.

What is really odd is that one of the large roller bearings is missing from the inside of the brake.  This is a big thing, and there is no big hole for it to fall out.  It would be like dismantling your engine only to discover that one of the pistons had fallen out somewhere some time in the past.  Very odd.

Once I had dealt with the above frustrations, replacing the spokes was as easy as I had remembered, and I was very surprised to discover that I had got the wheel almost exactly true first time.

Now all I need to do is actually get around to ordering the strong Dutch spokes so that this doesn't happen again.

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