Category Archives: Bike Repairs

Just About Perfect

Took the Scott in for service before the Dempsey Challenge Sunday. While it was there I had some cosmetic updates done by changing out the bar tape and hoods from red to white and also added white cable housing. This bike is so sweet looking! (Now I just need white bottle cages to complete the look.)


Shifting Gears

My gears have not been shifting very well lately. On the Peak ride Wednesday it was annoying to shift and not have the derailleur respond as it should. It was sluggish at best.

It wasn’t much better on the Thursday night ride so upon my arrival home I put the bike up on the stand and made some tension adjustments with the barrel adjuster.

I thought it was pretty good until I got on the bike to commute to work Friday. It was shifting horribly. I had to shift up twice and down once to get the derailleur where the chain wouldn’t jump. I read Wheels’ blog about adjusting the cable tension so I set out at lunch to tighten the cable more by pulling it tighter. It seemed to work but I could only get it to shift well one way but not shifting well the other way.

I had to resort to taking the bike to my mechanic Saturday morning. I was hopeful the problem was a frayed cable and not the chain/cassette, which is still pretty new. My mechanic did notice that the chain was a little worn but still had plenty of life left. So he ended up cleaning the cable housing and replacing the cable.

I took the bike for a ride Sunday morning and it shifted perfectly. I’m glad it was a relatively easy fix. I will have to contend with a little cable stretch over the next couple weeks but I can manage those adjustmenst on my own.

Cleaning My Bike and Proving My Point

During my recovery ride last night I kept hearing a clicking, or even a sort of squeaking noise. I couldn’t pinpoint the noise since it was intermittent but seemed to be more when I would go over rough pavement or pedaled.

Since it had been a few rides since I had cleaned my bike I thought it would be a good time to do it after my ride and see if I could investigate the odd noise.

As part of the process of cleaning the wheels I also wipe down each spoke. It was then that I realized on the rear wheel, opposite from the drive train, was a broken spoke, AHA! That was the source of the noise I heard! It’s weird that it was the sound of the broken spoke that made me check. Otherwise, I would have kept riding it. You see, the bike did not handle funny at all. I’ll attribute that to the integrity of my wheels – the team issue Zipp wheels.

I originally had them on my Aegis when we built it up. Then my husband bought another pair to put on the Scott, with the premise that I’d be able to swap the wheels between the two bikes. I must admit, these are incredible wheels and I’ve been very happy with them.

At any rate, I only proved that cleaning your bike after each ride is a good idea to give you a chance to inspect parts to make sure that all is in good working order. I only wish I had cleaned it earlier (over the weekend) because I fear I’ve been riding with this broken spoke for a few rides now. Shame on me and lesson learned!

The Best Kind of Service

I went out for a short bike ride tonight. I was really enjoying being on the bike when about 3 miles in I felt a rhythmical thumping with my bike. I stopped to investigate the situation but found nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I heard a loud boom. For a split second I didn’t know what it was because I had never experienced that sound before without it being some sort of fire arm. Then it dawned on me that my tire had blown. Actually, it was my tube. Good thing because I wouldn’t be able to easily replace my new limited edition white Grand Prix 4000 tires.

So I set about to change the tube. When I got ready to pump it up with my CO2 cartridge, it was empty. I’m not sure if it was a dud or what the situation was. Nevertheless, I had nothing to pump the tire up with so I had to call my husband for a lift.

When I spoke with him I indicated that he could bring me a CO2 cartridge or just come get me. I figured the latter would be the case and my ride would be over for today. I totally underestimated my husband. Not only had he brought some cartridges, but he brought another spare tube, had the pump in the car, in addition to my spare bike!! Wow! It was all there for whatever I chose so I could continue my ride. Now THAT’S service!

I chose to pump up the tire with the pump and be on my way. I’m so happy because it was a great afternoon to be on the bike, even if just for a little while.

Making an Adjustment

When I was out on a ride with a local group Thursday night I had a shifting problem. I could not shift into my large chain ring. I had to resort to reaching down and pulling on the cable that runs from the shifter to the derailieur.

Upon my return home I realized the cable was pretty loose and no doubt from me pulling on it. So I set out tightening it on my own and am happy to report I was able to fix it. During my subsequent rides it shifted flawlessly.

This was a simple fix. I would have normally taken the bike into the LBS for this kind of repair but after taking a bike maintenance class I was confident in my abilities to make this adjustment on my own. Yippee!

Trek Across Maine – Day 2

June 20th, 2009: Day 2 started out wet. As we walked to drop off our luggage and pick up our bikes it starte to rain. Luckily it didn’t last long. Still, the roads were wet, which meant eventually we would be a little wet just from the tire spray.

Right before we departed, I caught a glimps of blue sky. A ray of hope that didn’t amount to much.


Not only were the roads wet but we hit a fair bit of heavy drizzle off and on. I wasn’t thinking and had my feet in the 6 and 12 position at one point when coasting, which caused the spray from my front tire to soak my shoe, and then eventually my foot. Stupid move!

As was the case with the last two years, it took me a long time to get my legs back from the day before. I’m not sure why that is but it’s always been the case.

I started out with a friend and a couple of his friends and eventually had to tell them to forge ahead without me – I just didn’t have it to hang on. Eventually though a small train of 3 guys came by and I snatched onto a wheel. My friend Tracey decided after a while that getting a facefull of spray from a wheel in front of her was not how she wanted to spend her day and fell off the back.

We ended up picking up another guy from the Greater Portland area and we rode together all the way to the first rest stop. (Later I found out that they were all from Portland.)

Along the way my chain was not cooperating and new I needed to have that extra link taken out from my repair a couple weeks ago. I told some other friends not to wait for me and I’d see them at the next rest stop. I actually didn’t find them at the next one and it was only a few miles more to the last one so I forged on and ended up meeting up with them there.

I have to say that I enjoyed that part of the day very much. It was just me riding tempo for several miles. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else and just rode my bike at my own pace. My only regret was that I didn’t have my iPod to keep me company, which of course are not allowed.

At one point I went by a guy with a blue and yellow Aegis. I also passed him the day before and told him, “Nice bike” so I said it to him again. As I pulled to the front he replied, “nice legs.” I had to laugh. It was the best reply I had heard in a long time. I wondered after if he was referring to my blue knee warmers.

After meeting up with my friends at the last rest stop we rode together to the finish at Colby College. I pulled for most of the way out of choice. I needed the workout and the legs finally felt good.

During this Trek I also focused on my nutrition by making sure I was taking in enough shot bloks and gels on a regular basis, along with electrolytes, to ward off the cramps. It seemed to work because I didn’t have one cramp the entire time. It also wasn’t scortching hot so my salt loss was a lot less than other times. Still, I’ll continue with this type of regimen to see if it continues to make a difference.

Bike Maintenance – Another Aspect of Cycling

One aspect of cycling that many of us cyclists don’t deal with is bike maintenance.

I’m not referring to the ordinary cleaning, lubing, break pad changing. I’m referring to the real nitty gritty of bike maintenance such as cassette/chain changing, crank changing, deraileur adjustments, cable adjustments/changing, etc.

I’ve always been impressed when I heard of someone building up a bike themselves. Not taking it to a shop, but actually putting in the labor themselves to create their very own bike.

So I had an opportunity to dabble in this today. The class was called Introduction to Brakes and Gear Adjustments. The instructor, Erik, preferred the students to come with a project to work on with your own bike. Well, I definitely had a good project: I wanted to bring in both my bikes, take the 12/25 cassette off the Scott and put it on the Aegis with a new chain and then put a new 12/27 cassette on the Scott.

I arrived to find that there were two of us in class. I did expect to be more and I hope there are more that take Erik’s class in the future, because it is well worth every penny!

The class started with an explanation of components and how they work. Then it was on to the hands on projects. I managed to complete my project in the time that was alotted for the class. Now I’ll have to go out and test the bikes to see if I like how they turned out. I might have to actually take out another link in the new chain on the Aegis. We erred on the side of leaving it a tad longer and it will require some testing of the bike to make sure it’s okay as is. But I know that’s easy enough to do on my own.

I had asked about instruction on wheel truing, another important aspect of bike maintenance. Erik informed me that others had asked about that type of class as well and he thought he might put together a separate class for that. He was happy to show me how to do it, as opposed to actually doing it. But I chose to tell him I’d be interested in taking the truing class – a detailed and hands on instruction was better than if he had just explained it in the short amount of time we had.

I hope you are able to find such a class like this in your area. If you are in the Greater Portland or Mid Coast areas of Maine, I highly recommend taking Erik’s classes. They are very informative and I guarantee you will get a lot of knowledge from them.

There is still so much more to learn about maintaining my bikes but at least I received a decent start today. I know that when my spare set of wheels come in, I’ll be able to put on a cassette and have them ready to use. Pretty cool!

If you are inclined to attempt some bike maintenance on your own, Erik recommends this book for your repairs:

Park Tool Book

It’s the Park Tool’s Big Blue Book of Repair. This book seemed to have a lot of good information with some great pictures to help guide you through your repairs.