Friday, August 24, 2007

'Fancy bike' doesn't seem so fancy

The reason I haven’t blogged recently is because I’ve had it in my mind for nearly two weeks to write about the completion of my “fancy bike” project.

I figured if I waited a day or two or three, I could bask in the glory of a completed project and write about it here. And, more importantly, I could start using my new steed for extended rides and get back into an actual training regimen.

Unfortunately, this project is more complicated than I originally thought and is testing the limits of my bicycle mechanic skills.

As I wrote before, my “fancy bike” is the one I got for free on craigslist. It’s an aluminium Cannondale road bike that came in pieces – lots of greasy parts piled inside plastic grocery bags. There were some missing parts and some seriously damaged parts.

I sanded the frame, painted it bright orange and then started piecing everything together. This is where I ran into trouble.

Fancy bike?

First I discovered that something was wrong with the rear axle. It’s apparently bent and the inside of the hub it goes through seems to be messed up. That meant I had to do something I didn’t want to do – start scavenging parts off the Mighty Panasonic.

I put the Mighty Panasonic’s rear wheel on the “fancy bike” and then went to work connecting and adjusting the rear derailleur. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the derailleur to move the chain onto the big rear cog. Even though it didn’t make any sense, and I knew it didn’t make any sense, I decided to start messing with the spring in the rear derailleur. The result: I destroyed the rear derailleur.

So then I scavenged the rear derailleur off the Mighty Panasonic. (That leaves me with two inoperable bikes at this point.)

After installing the derailleur, I realized that the only way to make this work would be to move the entire rear cog closer to the derailleur. This could be accomplished by installing a shorter “spacer” on cog side of the rear axle.

Rather than go out and buy a spacer, I got the brilliant idea of using a hack saw to cut the existing spacer down to size. If I would have thought ahead, this idea may have worked. Instead I grabbed the spacer, jammed it in the vise and start sawing away at it without using my brain. The result was an uneven, diagonal cut.

I looked at it and thought to myself “Would I want to climb Berry Summit with this thing on my axle?” No way!

Today I finally decided to consult the professionals, who informed me that they sell various sized spacers that should meet my needs.

The catch is that I’ll need to walk in and show them the hack sawed spacer, which will likely result in them asking me “What were you thinking?” That will be embarrassing, but it’s something I’ll have to do.

Next week I’m booked, so I won’t have any time for this project. But the week after I hope to not only finish the bike, but take it for a ride.

After that I’m going to read up on bicycle training and take this whole obsession to a new level.


Blogger john said...

i have a fancy bike too! it is a huffy with a banana seat. it is really old but i can do big jumps on it.

7:58 AM  

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