Sunday, June 19, 2016

split solo ride, i have a reader, why the wheels creak, and why black bar tape is best for me

Well, there are a few reasons for it:
  1. The Florida in-laws are in town;
  2. The Excellent Wife (TEW)'s aunt was ailing (we just heard that she died);
  3. I've still got the back pain I referred to in yesterday's post, so I didn't want to take on too much.
 So instead of going on one of the Freewheeler rides, or going out with Snakehead (who's doing a heavy-training day today in preparation for having his daughter hand his head to him on Bike Virginia next week), I decided to do a solo ride. I've got this route that I figure might be good for a Sunday pickup ride; it's short, but it's got a few demanding climbs, and it allows for stops in Hopewell, Princeton, and/or Kingston. I decided to modify that.

GPS was wonky, though; at first it wouldn't load the route, then it cut out and I had to restart, so I wound up with two ride pages: the first fourteen miles, and the remaining 23-or-so.

I ding the bell and wave at most riders (Dave Kim said yesterday that he visualizes me on a high-wheel ordinary, twirling my moustache and tipping my wool cap to all and sundry), and, of course, I was doing so today. I passed one gentleman in Hopewell, who cranked like hell to catch me again and said he reads this blog every week! Wait... I have a regular reader? Are there others? I'm flattered... and a little awed by the responsibility. Does this mean I've gotta stop whining about my mental foibles and physical ailments? (Hint: Unlikely to actually happen; as I write this I have the back brace on again... and why didn't I get one a week ago? I just went to Costco with it on, and younger folks were making space for the poor weak old guy. I could get used to that.)

 A bit further down the road, I had an epiphany. I've built a (small) number of wheels, and some of the rear wheels I've built have developed a creak. Laura OLPH suggested I had not pulled the spokes tight enough, but I can't believe that: I ruined one rim by buckling it when I pulled the drive-side spokes too tight, and you can see in the picture below that there's some distension about the rim in the middle spoke; the ones on either side don't show it. The middle spoke is a drive-side spoke.

I think the rim flexes, and that's what causes the creak. All the creaks have been in wheels with this rim. The one rear that I've built with a different rim has no creak. (It's definitely the non-drive spokes, too; I've got a wheel laced three-cross on the drive side and radial on the other, and that one doesn't creak.) My experiment will be to build a wheel with a different rim (without eyelets; I think those are stiffer), with a cross pattern on the non-drive side, and see if the creak occurs. I'm betting it won't.

Finally, some pictures of my bar tape. I usually wrap with black, but for my 60th birthday, Snakehead got me some very good SRAM yellow (in honor of the Yellow Maserati, no doubt). The pictures below show the condition of the pretty yellow tape, eight months after installation:

I guess this is why we just can't have nice things...

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