Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yes, I'm Basking

To recap what happened in the final stages of the bike build....

I had to swap the left/right orientation of my new stand, because I failed to take into account which side the chain runs down. No big deal, just to note that the pics below show it on the wrong side.

I installed the seat, and rack as an assembly, since they, along with the rear fender, all tie in together. After lacing up the seat and test riding it, I decided to bend the upper half of the seat forward by about 2 inches. So I unlaced the seat back, bent it, touched up the paint, then relaced the seat cover. It feels much nicer now. Btw, the basket on the rack can be moved forward/back to fit a bag or whatever I decide to use back there.

As I installed each item during the final build, I tore them down, cleaned and lubed as much as possible. With the back wheel this meant taking the cassette off and repacking the bearings. Well, the wheel came off my old mountain bike, and the cassette was so bloody tight that I actually popped the halves of the spool apart trying to loosen it. Enter new wheel from the junk pile. I spent two evenings respoking the second center (from a terribly twisted wheel) into the old rim and truing it. When it was finally ready to go back on the bike, things just flowed into place. Two days later, i was rolling it down the driveway for a test ride around the block. Yeehaw!

I decided to spring for a new chain and new pedals. Something about recycling rusty chains from the junk pile just didn't seem fitting. Also, one of the pedals I wanted to use turned out to have a bent shaft. I like my new pedals, as they are one-piece metal, have little raised gripper studs, and were easy to modify with weights to make them rest in the proper position.

I put on a bunch of reflective tape that I bought a couple of years ago just for this moment. I also made a little bracket to bolt on the front to hold a small flashlight for a headlight. I get a few pictures up soon.

I found a great bike shop close to home. The guys at Bad Monkey Bikes, Board & Skate are great! I told them what I was doing, and they were more than happy to spend a little time helping me select exactly what I needed. On my second shopping trip there, they were mounting a new basket on a little girl's bike while she and her dad were waiting to go for their Saturday ride. Some bike shops wouldn't have taken the time to install a low profit item for free, but then again, some bike shops aren't in business very long. A shop needs to do more than sell expensive bikes to rich people - it needs to service the neighborhood. I'll be a loyal customer to these guys for a long time. Oh yeah, and they had cheap parts as well as pricey ones, so I could just pick what I wanted and not feel like a cheapskate.

I rode the bike to a meeting tonight, about 4 miles away. I hit 35mph going down the hill to get there, but coming back up, it was obvious how out of shape I am. Yikes, I had to stop three times coming up the hill to catch my breath. It's going to be a long spring, but at least I have my very own recumbent bike. And it's red!

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