Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wet Socks

The last couple of miles vindicated my choice of the fixed gear. Mist thickened to downpour. My socks were soaked.

Sock-soaker is Grade Two on the rain scale.

Arriving considerably early, I still had not had time to change from riding clothes when the first customers walked in on the heels of the upper management. I handled the first two crises without even removing my cleated shoes. When the next one looked like it might drag on, I took a second to throw my shop shoes on over my wet socks. Next chance, I would put on my dry spare pair.

That was about nine hours ago. Time to suit back up in the wet cleats, because I never had time to hang them up to dry properly either. They'll dry on the way home. The evening is sunny.

The parts arrived for the day's rush jobs after 2 p.m. It might have been after 3. I'm not sure. I was dealing as gently as I could with someone who had purchased LandRider auto-shifting bikes because his wife is shifter-phobic. All you can do in a case like that is listen and nod, while they take their own time figuring out that the product will never get past its design flaws. In due course they will relegate it to the back of their garage or send it back to join the fleet of "reconditioned" bikes LandRider offers on their own website.

Rushing into the rushiest rush job I discovered that a crank and bottom bracket had been ordered to cure a front derailleur problem. Ignoring the new parts, I got the shifting working by tightening the two loose bolts on the front derailleur and lubricating the derailleur pivots. It would shift even better with new chain rings. New chain rings had been tried and dismissed in the initial diagnosis. Popping on the new crank and BB would install new rings by default and be quicker. Done and done.

The crank is a Shimano with sheet metal chain rings designed to make the rider soon want to upgrade to a more expensive drive train, but for the moment they are shiny and work crisply. The whole crank costs less than a stack of three good alloy replacement rings for the original Sugino. If that's being chucked, I'll short-stop it on the way to the dumpster. Even though the 130-74 bolt circles close off most good gear options for touring, you can always mount it on a shorter BB without the granny ring.

That's enough. I'm going home.

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