Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Long bike out of action

Time to give the trusty Xtra-long treadly a spell.
After 2 years and 10 months of daily commuting and general getting about, The Xtracycle is officially off the road!

It's been my main mode of transport for nearly 3 years but is now in desperate need of an overhaul.

List of stuff that is somewhat broken or just doesn't work any more....

- Saddle (vinyl split and cushion exposed)
- Brake pads (warn out)
- Brake cables (stiffening)
- Snap Deck (Laminated sheets separating, timber veneer splitting)
- Rear gear (shifter just won't grip the cable any more)
- Bottom Bracket (warn out, bearing case rusted and busted. Axel...)


 (What's left of axle and bearings... There were insects (cicadas) in there!)

 (Brakes, saddle, gear selector. Stuff that isn't cutting it)

I had intended to fix most of those bits and pieces that should be considered general maintenance but could never find a spare moment... The final straw came when I was slightly unwell one day and found myself grinding away in a bad gear, the chain ring moving in a sideways motion and too much friction radiating from the center bracket. I stopped the bike looked down at the play in the chain ring and found myself unable to continue at even a moderate pace. I limped the bike home and dreaded riding it again! (I rode it one more time when I went looking for Rosellas but found it was no longer fun!)

Now that my favorite machine is off the road I am alternating between two other bikes.
1. The Train-bike - An old Beach Cruise with an alleycat extension and a Weerider for taking the kids out and about.

2. The Pink Wonder - My old Shogun Katana road bike, for commuting and longer tours.

I have to say I am really enjoying being back on the road bike. It's a bike that fit's me perfectly and, (when I can stop the rear wheel from rubbing on the left chain stay!)it gets me to work 10 minutes quicker with energy to spare.

Lately this is the bike I've been taking out for morning rides. The speed allows me to get further and see more before having to turn back home in time for the family breakfast routine.

The morning rides are like a return to some kind of sanity... problem is that they make the other things I do... like work, seem somewhat less sane.

This morning I had the alarm set for 4:30am but was too tired to get up, but woke again at 5:15am, which is slightly too late for me to get as far as I would prefer, but I decided to ride anyway.
The moon had almost set and unfortunately the batteries on my headlight were waning, I was really struggling to stay on the path, it became really difficult with all the bicycle traffic coming the other way shining extremely bright lights in my eyes. I reckon there were about 30 bikes on the path between Karama and Palmerston this morning. The air was so fresh, but the conditions were perfect for riding fast, no sweat... (well not much sweat anyway).

Palmerston bicycle overpass

By the time I reached the Palmerston bicycle overpass the sky was beginning to lighten up so I decided that would be far enough. It's not a bad spot to turn around, so I rolled back down the hill to the Robertson Baracks junction and sat for a while watching the sky change color as more and more bicycles rolled on past.
5 minutes of bliss before shooting off home as the sun began it's trajectory... (well the earth actually but you know what I mean)

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