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I usually try to keep my ride pretty clean. I’ve been a little lazy about it lately, and it really needs a good bath. This got me thinking. My dad has always said, “Before winter sets in you should put a good coat of wax on you car.” One of his points being is that it helps keep the salt off the car’s finish in the winter months. This does make sense to me. So I’m thinking of cleaning up the old horse and putting a coat of wax on the seat/chain stays, down tube and fork. Can anyone think of a good reason not to do this?
Also with winter on the horizon does anyone have any cold weather riding tips you would like to share with the cycling community? One I use, I got from Sheldon Brown. Use clear tape to block off a few air vents on your helmet. It’s a easy and very inexpensive way to help keep your head a little warmer and not compromise the fit of your brain bucket.
During the developments of the cycling tragedy in Baltimore last week, I found myself needing something else to think about. I had been sick (cold and fever) and home and technically on vacation, so I decided after finishing what work I had to do from home (that I missed earlier that week) to see how well I really trued my wheels last week. With it being so late and my being so tired, I wondered if I really did a good job.
The sound that I thought was my rim hitting my brake pads before I trued them was still present. I took off the tire and tube and put everything on my truing stand. Noise was still there. It was almost like a scraping sound. Quick fix: might be the dork disc (Zack had this problem last year). Took off the cassette and dork disc, and the sound was still there. I thought it might be my hubs or axle. I opened everything up, re-adjusted the hubs, got extremely messy. Noise was still there. I didn’t feel like overhauling my hub and even less so when I realized the front hub was making the same sound. These are new wheels, and I haven’t gotten to ride in any serious weather yet. So I trued the wheel again (not leaving well enough alone) and put everything back together.
Then that night, it hit me. It was the rubber seals rubbing the hub body. Had to be. So I took Mr. Wheel off again and removed the cassette and both rubber seals. The noise was gone. I even asked the ever patient Eleanor R/Frankie to lend her ears. She agreed. I put the seals back on, and the noise was back. BINGO! Specifically, it was the seal that went into the body of the freehub. I wasted two and half hours during a nice summer afternoon, when I could have been watching a movie or reading or taking a walk on my vacation.
So, if your hubs are making a noise, rule out the rubber seals (if you have them) before you tear everything apart like I did. Unless you like tearing things apart. Which I do, so I guess that day last week wasn’t exactly a waste at all.
Two members of the North Baltimore Bike Brigade were out of commission last week, including Eleanor R. One Tuesday afternoon, I was rushing to make a meeting (for which I was already late) and hopped on ElRo without noticing that I had a flat front tire. I still didn’t notice after falling off of ElRo and riding her a few feet, at which point I finally heard the crunching sound of rim-on-gravel.
Luckily, another NBBB member was close by and rode down to my office to replace the tube. I got home safely and was practicing replacing a tube on my own when . . .
As it turned out, I had a tear in the tire as well as the tube. Two replacement tires arrived this past week, and they are securely attached to ElRo. I was back in the saddle riding to work on Thursday — and now I know how to change a tire!
I’ve been running errands on my bike for a while now but never have I commuted to work. Today I changed that. The morning commute was very pleasant. It was very calming and refreshing. I now believe that it is one of the best ways to start my day. I look forward to many more like it.
The commute back home from work was a little different. The heavy traffic, the suicide lanes of 33rd, and the guy in the green SUV who seemed to like to show me how close he could get to me repeatedly did not make for a peaceful ride home.
All in all it was a good experience. One I will be repeating, even if it did leave me a little frayed.