Archive for the ‘maintenance’ Category


May 3, 2008

I had an old VW bug once. It was a ’63, and I had it in it’s final days, the mid 80s. The engine on that bug was so worn that I had to crawl under it and work on it EVERY time I drove it. That means I’d crawl under it before I drove to town and after I arrived in town; before I drove home and after I arrived home. One headlight pointed straight up and the other straight down.

Maintaining an old bike is a somewhat related venture. If it gets ridden a lot, it needs a lot of maintenance. Tires pumped up and repaired, brakes adjusted, shifters adjusted. Spokes tightened and loosened to keep the wheels spinning true. That seat that just won’t stay tight. Many people, especially those who don’t ride , don’t realize the extent to which one is tied to that old bike. Kind of like the relationship one has with a dog. You need to spend a lot of time together to remain on good terms. Not so much with a dog, as they are advanced beings. In 53 years of dogs, I can’t remember one instance where my dog got angry with me. Dogs are aware of a lot more than humans give them credit for. They’re ahead of us, karmically, in every respect. We humans are oh so self-centered. When we finish our human trials, re-incarnationally speaking, we likely come back as dogs. Not so bicycles. We probably never come back as bicycles.

When I was attending City College in Sacramento, CA back in the mid seventies, I rode my 10 speed 14 miles every day, going to and from school. Hardly a day went by that I wasn’t working on it at lunch time so I could then ride it back home. On weekends, I might ride it 50 miles. I was a runner in those days too. My cardiovascular system was in top shape in those days. I could play frisbee for hours on end without tiring, amazing those around me.


foiled again

March 24, 2008

I just got back from the bike shop. The salesman looked at my old crank and his mouth fell open. He looked at the date stamped into it. 1990. That’s more than 10 years old, said he. Almost 20 was my reply. He then went on to inform me that cranksets have evolved over the years, and I would likely find nothing anywhere in Mexico that would solve my problem. He suggested checking around at the smaller shops for older stock. he also suggested ebay, and as an afterthought, suggested that I might be able to find something in Belize, after I’d mentioned having come from there. So I asked what he had in the way of new bikes. Nothing that interested me. As I was walking out, I asked if he had any folding bikes. He pointed to a 6 speed Dahon. I became interested, but the $300 price tag was daunting. I continue to try and find a way to rationalize that purchase though.

So I rode back home, my newly painted gold frame hanging around my neck. Trying to figure a way out. I went online and searched Bike Nashbar. Through the magic of their live chat, I was directed to just the crankset I need, and at an astonishing $40. I wrote to my friend Reg in Detroit, who will be arriving here on the 23rd. We’ll see if he can carry it down with him. In the mean time I continue to dream of that Dahon.

1o days later.  I don’t know by what accident this one didn’t get published when it should have.

sanding and painting continued

March 13, 2008

On the way home from school, I again stopped by the bike shop to check out their colors; there really isn’t much in the way of selection. I saw nothing I liked enough, but just as I was leaving, a pale gold caught my eye. I decided to cogitate on it. When I got back to Santiago, I went into our favorite hardware store, La Alegria, to check their colors again, and to buy some solder for the continuing shower repair in Connie’s bathroom. They had a gold, with a hint of olive mixed in. At least that’s what the cap indicated. The label said “rich gold”. I bought it. It’s very bright, in direct sunlight, but much more subdued in shade. I’ll try to keep it in the shade. I intend to finish the gold coats this morning; then do a couple of clearcoats this afternoon. If I can get it down to the bike shop tomorrow, to get the new crankset and bottom bracket, then it looks good for riding on Sunday again.

sanding and painting

March 12, 2008

I put the first coat of primer on the fork, on Saturday. I have to say I was disappointed to find the paint was grey, even though the cap was distinctly black. I wanted to see how it looked in flat black, because that’s the way I’d like to paint the whole bike. A couple years ago, Giant Bicycles had a comfort bike, a Cypress, I believe with a matte black finish which was wildly popular, so much so that I had to settle for a grey/black combo on mine. Black, in the past few years, has made a significant move to replace green as my favorite color for a vehicle. I’ve been considering adding a highlight or two in a dark sage green, in an effort to avoid going overboard in the black department. Also because I think it would look nice.

not biking

March 10, 2008

Well it finally happened. I knew it was coming for some months now (maybe a year or so? But in southern Belize I had to just put it out of my mind). The crankset on my old Giant Prodigy finally bit the dust, after 16 years of good service, and one year of poor service. I’ve been telling myself for some time now, that when it finally does give out, I’m going to tear the bike down and paint it. I began sanding the fork the day before yesterday. That fork had been in need of repair for at least a year, probably more like two or three. But again, being in southern Belize, a proper repair was out of the question, so I limped along with it with what was available. So here in Merida I was able to purchase the replacement brake mount, which had broken off long ago. I went out one day earlier this week, intending to carry it around until I found a welder who could fix it. My first stop was the transmission shop two doors down. Fidel and I got into his tiny black Hyundai Atos and drove around the block to his friend’s welding shop, on calle 74, I think. The man expertly removed the old one, using a hacksaw and a grinder, and skillfully put the new one on in it’s place. Even earlier in the week, I’d gone to the big bike shop down on calle 63, at 52, and bought a new road crankset, and then later in the day, a bottom bracket. The bottom bracket doesn’t fit, and so I won’t be able to use that crankset either. I’ve decided to get it painted, and then carry the frame down to the shop, probably in a taxi, and get it fitted with the proper bottom bracket and crankset. Meantime I’m getting around on my flea market bike, a one speed with hand brakes and knobby tires.

I discovered the flawed crankset as I was setting out for my weekly ride this past Sunday. So I went to the flea market instead, and found two nice short sleeved sport shirts, for 45 pesos total. Then I rode around town a few hours in order to get some exercise, as well as learn my way around some. I can (and do) ride for hours inside the city limits, having no idea how to get to where I’m trying to go.

This morning, after class, I’m meeting Connie at a special session the US consulate is throwing, in part, for voter registration.