Well it’s finally happened, I’ve run out of things to write about. I’ve been getting my miles in but I’m not receiving any fresh ideas for my blog, Diminished Neuro Stimulation Syndrome. This happens to everyone right? I’ve said many times my best thinking happens when I’m riding. In the past when I’ve been blocked I turn to Face Book and see what my internet friends are talking about. One guy writes that he’s in the market for a new road bike. This leads to a lot of comments, a lot of great advise and even some plugs for a particular bike shop. My comment was “Don’t buy a WalMart bike”, thinking that was sound advise, but a lot of people do buy WalMart bikes. Those who turn their noses up at WalMart bikes must be elitist snobs. Not really, just informed shoppers. It seems that the Charlotte Co. Sheriff’s impound lot is a Walmart bike graveyard. This photo is of the dregs, passed over even by the Edgewater Church Bicycle Ministries. No Pinarello Dogma’s here, trust me, I’ve looked. It’s a sad site, like looking at the abandoned dogs at the shelter. Not even the homeless want them. Destined to be sold for scrap, future manhole covers or a Kia. The question is, bad genes or bad environment? Owning a bicycle comes with great responsibility, doesn’t it. Choose wisely my friends. You can’t own too many bikes either. My wife tells me if one more bike shows up in the garage she’s leaving. I’m gonna miss her.
Great conversations are had when riding with others. I’ve been accused of not listening when someone is talking, just nodding my head, guilty. There’s a female voice on a recent ride and about 24 hours later I hear the conversation. She was saying something about choosing an outfit for the upcoming WWIII Ride and something about riding RAGBRAI in her bikini on a rainy day. I actually heard that last part when she said it. Anyway she comes to ride with us old men regularly, calling us The Men of Spandex. We’re always thinking of new ways to improve our Wheels ‘N’ Wings Ride, keep it fresh and interesting. How about a bikini ride, or take in the men as well and call it a bathing suit ride? No judges or prizes just a short ride through town in a bathing suit. This could be big! All the hard bodies at a bike ride would go for it.
4500+ miles so far this year on the new bike, Giant TCR Advanced. That a lot of miles for me but at this pace I’m gonna miss my 10,000 miles for 2012 goal, it’s already July, do the math. The bike has been great and especially comfortable, no more tingling hands and achy shoulders. I’m a big fan of carbon fiber. My bike is primarily white which is good in a way because it forces me to keep it clean. A clean bike is a happy bike especially the drive train. After using some canned air to carefully blow the gritty dirt out and away, careful not to blow the dirt in, I use Lemon Pledge and a clean rag to wipe down the frame, ahh, spring time fresh. The canned air does a great job removing the dirt but it also removes the lubricant, time to re lube. I like the Tri Flow lubrication products, available at your friendly neighborhood bike shop. It time to measure the chain and see how much it’s stretched. You can ball park it using a ruler. Measure 12″ center to center on the rivets.
Borrowed from Sheldon Brown
“If the rivet is less than 1/16″ past the mark, all is well.
- If the rivet is 1/16″ past the mark, you should replace the chain, but the sprockets are probably undamaged.
- If the rivet is 1/8″ past the mark, you have left it too long, and the sprockets (at least the favorite ones) will be too badly worn. If you replace a chain at the 1/8″ point, without replacing the sprockets, it may run OK and not skip, but the worn sprockets will cause the new chain to wear much faster than it should, until it catches up with the wear state of the sprockets.
- If the rivet is past the 1/8″ mark, a new chain will almost certainly skip on the worn sprockets, especially the smaller ones.”
After 4500 miles my chain appears to have stretched a little. Time to have the bike shop put their gauge on it. This brings up the age old discussion. Do I ride it out, wait till it starts to skip then replace the chain and cassette, or if I catch it in time do I replace the chain. Obviously if the stretch exceeds 1/8″ you ride it out. Let’s see, a new Ultegra chain = 40 bucks, new Ultegra cassette is 70 bucks. So it’s $40 vs $130. Gotta add the labor if the shop does the repairs or the tools if I do it myself. Like Lance would say “I just ride em I don’t fix em.” Must be nice to be Lance, well it used to be anyway. I do want to start turning my own wrenches more. Question, if I replace the chain before it’s stretched more than 1/16th” will the cassette last forever? Another question, if I ride it out how many miles will I get until it’s time for a new chain and cassette? Eureka! Good questions! Finally something to research and write about. A good place to put a pin in it until I get the answers.
Thank you very much for reading this. I hope you find my nonsense amusing. Thank you for the comments.