bikes, revisited

As Amanda can attest (see the comments), I am a big fan of breaking things so that I can learn how to fix them.

Our new bikes are no exception, so far.

I noticed that the brake pads were badly misaligned and the right caliper was rubbing on the rim periodically, so I used the “process of elimination” technique on the various bolts on the braking system to figure out how to adjust it. I got it, but not before I had completely disassembled the brakes. It turns out putting them back together is not so easy, especially when you’ve frayed the end of the brake cable by bending it every which way so badly that you can’t even thread the hole. (I’ve had dates like that.)

So I’ve decided to just scrap the old cables and replace them – on 25 year old bikes, it can’t be a bad idea anyway, right? It turns out that brake cables bear a remarkable resemblance to bass strings. I have a whole set of flat-wound bass strings for my Jazz V laying around unused, do you think those would work? Conversely, brake cables appear to be a lot cheaper. I wonder how they’d sound on the fender.

I also attempted to determine if the tires needed replacing by removing them. In the process of removing the first, it fell apart into shreds. I think this qualifies as “needs replacing”. So now that I have the tire off, I am going to attempt to true the wheel. (I really hate using “true” as a verb.)

However, in the process of replacing the wheel, I noticed that it wobbles laterally slightly – that is, the wheel itself moves where the axle that it turns on (which is bolted to the bike) doesn’t. I don’t think I can see any way to fix this, though there is one bolt on the inside that maybe you can tighten. Does this mean I need new wheels?

Though it was Amanda’s idea to get bikes, I don’t think she has any idea what she’s gotten herself into. I once spent an entire weekend fixing a toilet – with these bikes, I could have fiddling material for months before we ever actually ride them