Sunday, November 07, 2004

Not meant to be

Even though I said winter was here, I was happy that winter decided to take today off. Relatively mild temperatures (high 50's, low 60's) and no rain (even a little sun!) promised to make for a great riding day. I only had 1:30 scheduled, so I headed out to a more remote area (the Snoqualmie Valley) for today's ride. The riding was as good as you can get for this time of year. My only gripe is that all of the farmers in the area were burning piles of leaves and sticks, leaving a low cloud of blueish smoke filling the valley. I'm sure that was wonderful on the lungs. Maybe I should have stayed home, smoked a few packs and watched football.

Anyway, on the way home my rear tire went flat. It took me a while to get the change completed because the damn wire bead tire was so difficult to get back on the rim. After finally getting it on and verifying I had all of my finger tips I proceeded to a CO2 cartridge to inflate the job. I popped a new cartridge into the "pump" and started to struggle with screwing the whole contraption together. Normally this is dead simple, but after a few minutes I was still struggling. Opting to not be the typical male and use brute force (it was really hard to resist the instinct) I took a closer look. It turned out the C02 cartridge was just a tad too large for the holder. I couldn't believe it! A manufacturing defect? Just plain sloppyness? Who knows, I was screwed. I called in the reserves to take me home.

After I got back I was checking out the bike and noticed that on top of everything, the rear wheel is totally bent. I don't get it. The wheel is a virtually new, heavy, cheap 32 spoke training wheel. Nothing fancy. I've been the hell out of my racing wheel and they don't wobble at all. Now I'm trying to decide if I should pay to have this thing fixed or just invest in a wheel truing stand. While I'm at it, I think I'll be giving up the C02 cartridges for a mini-pump. They've let me down before and whatever cool factor they offer just ain't worth it.

Oh, remember I said I was scheduled for 1:30? My stopwatch was at exactly 1:30 when I pulled off to change the tire...


At 9:44 AM, Blogger Jim Carson said...

You've had better luck with the CO2 systems than I have. Since you're going to conventional gear, be sure to get a pump with a peg. I broke a stem a few months ago because I was trying to be too clever and wedge the pump end up against my shoe for leverage.

I have a truing stand (but have never used it) if you want to give it a try before buying one.

I'm not sure if this will work on your rims, but there's a secret tire trick I learned: squeeze the tire so it bunches up in the middle, deep part of the rim. This shifts the tire out just enough so you can get the bead over the rim.

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave CO2 for racing and stick with a pump. A good pump is always your friend.

As for truing a wheel, it's a great technique to learn. It's not that difficult. I highly recommend Jobst Brandt's book "The Bicycle Wheel". This is a bookshelf keeper. If you ever decide to build a wheel this is also the book to have.

You don't need a truing stand to do some basic adjustments. It's possible to use your frame and a ruler or even a stick to eyeball the sway from left to right. Note that a wheel can be out of true both laterally and vertically. Normally lateral trueness is what you have to deal with. A big pothole hit can generate enough force to create a vertical shift. That's when a truing stand comes into play.

There are a bunch of how-to pages on truing wheels if you do a search. Good place to start. Plus it will save you from taking your wheel(s) to a shop and caughing up cold cash for a simple job.

Hmm... I'm rambling on... oh well, hope this helps.

Cheers - Hans


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