Thursday, October 31, 2019

servicing the steerer

When I did the annual breakdown last week, I noticed that the headset bearing needed attention. I underestimated the problem.

At upper left, with the reddish side seal, is the new bearing; at upper right, with the blue-black side seal, is the upper bearing that is being replaced. They're sealed bearings, and are supposed to be taken out in a single piece.

Beneath, in five pieces, as well as a few loose balls, are the remains of what was the lower bearing.

The new ones are Cane Creek's top of the line Hellbender bearings, sold with their high-end headsets. Here's hoping they last (although ten years of the use that I put the last bearings to, might be a reasonable lifetime. I rode the bejabbers out of 'em.) Below, the new lower bearing on the steering tube.

The upper bearing cup, ready for the bearing to be inserted.

The new upper bearing in place.

The steering tube inserted, and the blue angle spacer about to be lowered into position, and beneath, the angle spacer in place.

The top cap of the headset is on, and the stack spacers. Above these, the stem that holds the handlebar is put in place and tightened; that holds the fork to the frame.

It's neatly adjusted so there's no play, but the steering is easy. Nice work, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

my grandfather's axe

When I was an undergrad in the seminary, we studied epistemology in year two. One of the questions posed was about an item's identity, and the thought experiment, as I remember it, was called "My Grandfather's Axe".

It goes like this: My grandfather bought an axe as a young man. Through the course of his life, he changed the handle four times, and the head once. When my father got it, he changed the handle twice and the head once. Now I have it, and I've changed the head once and I'm on my second handle.

The question is, is it still my grandfather's axe? And if not, when did it stop being my grandfather's axe? In my family, it's still my grandfather's axe, and woe betide the upstart who says otherwise.

I built the Yellow Maserati from a frame I bought online. Initially all the parts except the fork and headset were cannibalized from a Giant bike that was my first bike as an adult (the carbon fork had developed a crack, which cave me the excuse to buy the frame and fork).

But I've replaced every part... and I mean EVERY part... except the frame, fork, and headset, and the cyclocross brake levers on the tops of the handlebars. New wheels, replacement cranks and bottom bracket, even new bottle cages. I've replaced the shifting system twice. Is it still the same bike?

I'd say what keeps the bike's identity is the frame. No matter what you hang on the frame, if it's still the same frame, it's still the same bike. And that IS the single highest-cost item on this bike, if that makes any difference (a discussion on my bike club's Facebook page about wheels reminds me that, on some bikes, the wheelset may be of higher cost than the frame... and even some higher-end shifting systems might cost more than the frames on which they are hung, although that's a rarefied biking atmosphere into which I will probably never venture).

Is it still the same frame if it's repainted? How about if it's repaired, especially if it's repaired badly and the ride quality is fundamentally changed? Frames are not modular, so one doesn't change part of a frame, or you would run down an even deeper and more convoluted rabbit hole of how much of a frame one could replace before it's not the same bike.

I'm waiting for a bearing to come in to fix the steerer. It's a tiny part, but it got me wondering.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

annual breakdown & reassemble of the yellow maserati

Every year, I break down the Yellow Maserati: remove the pedals and cranks, remove the bottom bracket, replace the chain (or at least take it off and clean it, if it's not ready for replacing), remove the stem, drop out the fork, check the headset bearings and move 'em so they don't get all brinelled from wearing in the same place. (Most years, I change all the cables, too, but I've done so much of that this year that they don't need it yet. Maybe in the spring...)

Yeah, well, when I looked at that lower headset bearing, it was pretty much toast. The side cover on the sealed bearing had worn off, the balls were exposed, and some were ready to fall out.

This is why I do the breakdown, to catch stuff like this. Cane Creek, who made the headset I use, no longer makes the same model, but the replacements use bearings of the same size. And they now sell the bearings from their top-of-the-line headsets in a size that will fit into mine.

So the bearings are on order (might as well change the top one, too). Since I'm not riding this weekend (watch this space for a writeup of this year's Philly Bike Expo), I can wait for the package to arrive.

In other news, I did a wrap of the bars from the top down, instead of from the bottom up. It removes the need for the tape at the top, but I don't like the way the wrap goes into the bars under the caps at the ends on the bottom. I'll probably change it soon.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

autumn leaves & lambertville halloween

(Above, Luis C and autumn.)

I had thought last week's ride, from Lambertville up to Black Eddy in Pennsylvania, would have been the best foliage ride of the year... but it wasn't. This week, Laura OLPH planned (or improvised) a ride from The Pig to Lambertville, and this ride was far better for an autumn-in-NJ experience that last week.

I got to Pennington early, and found this biker who's not carrying an ounce of extra fat:

In the same yard was this witch, taking off from the lawn for some unsavory errand or other.

I got back to find Raj, who doesn't usually dust off his bike for a ride of fewer than 100 miles, was out, and thereafter up came Peter R, Peter G, and Luis C; Laura and Ricky G (sportin' a few days' growth of beard) rolled up after that. Off we went. Laura didn't have a specific route, and made it up as she went.

Fall has come.

I like that above, of the trailers in the field with the leaves behind.

It's October in Lambertville, which means Halloween decorations are up. Some of them rival Fifth Avenue at Christmas for elaborateness and artistic merit.

I liked that above with the various phones on the tree.

It seems to me there was more at this house than there was last week. I love this one.

That scary-lookin' creature above is just poised to jump up and fly away.

Across the street were these:

Luis said that if he were ten years old, he's not sure if he would have had the courage to go up to this house:

I think I agree with him.

These dolls were a bit creepy...

And so on to Rojo's for the stop. While we were there, two couples came in on tandems. This one separates into three sections for travel:

... and this one has electric assist, AND has separation between the captain's and the stoker's pedals; one can coast while the other pedals.

More autumn in NJ:

Luis was rockin' an excellent pair of bike socks; we agreed the world would be the worse if I didn't get a picture:

Mules, I think. I haven't been able to find a link to 'em.

Ride page.

I'm writing this on Sunday (the day after); I didn't post a ride for today because of the predicted rain (which came)... but now there seems to be some brightness in the sky. I've just completed my annual breakdown-and-rebuild of the Yellow Maserati, and the lower headset bearing will need some attention; a new one is on order. Maybe I'll put on a mile or two just to make sure the bike was reassembled correctly.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

self-pity party

Oh, doodies. The two Sundays on which I could lead rides this month are both rainy; on the decent Sundays, we have other stuff planned.

I had hoped to lead a C+ ride this Sunday, but it doesn't look like the weather is cooperating.

Oh, well. Philly Bike Expo is next weekend. I won't get a ride in that weekend, but I plan to go to the Expo. There are three vendors I especially want to check out, and I hope to get better pictures than last year.

I may even get out without having to take out another mortgage*.

*The Excellent Wife (TEW) has told me that if I get another bike, I have to buy another house with a three-car garage and a better kitchen. So I'm not really kidding about the mortgage.

I'm especially cranky about the rainy Sundays, though.

The three vendors I want to check out? Well, these security ties, and these knock-offs of those Gevenalle shifters that I use (because the knock-offs might be utter crap)... and I prepaid for this saddle a year ago. They've just started shipping, and my order wasn't among the first set of shipments, nor among the second. I'm planning to go and display my ire in public.

Monday, October 21, 2019

wearing a tie to the bank

I am never going into a bank building again without a tie on.

I wear a blazer-and-tie to work every day, because that way I can wear my cheap, decade-old shirts and my Dickies work pants, and nobody notices (I also spend minimal energy deciding what to wear for work: white shirt, khakis, the-next-tie-in-the-rotation). I had to get a medallion signature on a document for one of my retirement plans (it's like getting notarized, but it's finance-industry specific -- does everybody know that but me?), so I called up to find out what I needed to do, and brought in the appropriate documents. I went straight after work, so I was still appareled in my rags-and-mufti as I described it.

Well, instead of the usual benign-ignore treatment, I got a number of hello's and a "Be right with you sir", and they were right with me. I was shown in to see the officer who does the medallion signature (it's quite a deal, apparently; there are only two staffers in the branch authorized to do it), and, when there was a minor error on the form, the officer downloaded a new page and filled it out in front of me. Her phone rang, and she asked my permission before she answered it. I left with the requisite signature, and a new appreciation for the modern benefits of an outmoded style of dress.

After I retire (which I'm currently planning for two years, seven months, and six days from the time of this writing) I may look for excuses to put on the tie. If you see a geezer with a tie on in the produce section hefting oranges, stop in and say hello; that'll likely be me.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

hilly autumn ride

Laura OLPH's description of the ride for today was brief:

This is a hilly, social ride with a coffee break. We will stop for pictures. 

It was, and we did.

First, though, it was cold when we started. I had scraped frost off the car when I was loading it, and the car thermometer registered 37°F when I turned it off (and it got to over 60°F before the end of the ride; how do you dress for that?).

Still, we were starting from Lambertville, and the Lambertville Halloween decorations are appearing:

I was early enough to get these before the ride start.

Ricky G, Tom H, Peter G, Andrew A, and Martin G comprised the rest of the crew. And yes, we stopped for pictures. We got these on the bridge on Lower Creek Road:

The dad above was fishing with his toddler son. He said he might get out for a ride later in the day after it had warmed up a bit . At the time, that sounded like a better idea than we had.

It's not a great year for foliage. Some trees are already bare, others still green. What colors there are seem muted.

We had a climb from Lower Creek to Upper Creek, then to Hammer, but then we were on the ridge and rolled along for a while. Laura stopped to get pictures of the white horse (Winter Larry is taken with white horses) before we got to Pittstown.

We briefly missed a turn in Pittstown, which was forgivable, because we got a sight of this excellent MG:

Crossing the bridge to Black Eddy (this is much more sensible than either rolling down Bridgeton Hill Road, with the terrifying drop and the left turn at the bottom, or trying to climb in all the traffic):

And then, on the way in, was this other bit of automotive wonderfulness. I didn't catch the make:

That stop at Black Eddy is great; if it were a bit closer, I'm sure TEW and I would be driving out every now and then. We had a chat with some friendly motorcyclists (no, that's apparently not an oxymoron) and then headed back.

I'm grateful it had warmed up by the time Martin had a flat (I'm sure he was, too):

Now, you can do a flat run from Black Eddy all the way back to Lambertville... but that's not the Hill Slug way. We went east at Frenchtown and climbed up Horseshoe Bend, then Lambertville Headquarters to Seabrook back to town.

Ride page.

Alas, rain for tomorrow; I've cancelled my planned ride. Chores and maintenance on TEW's bike, instead.