Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Talk about mud flaps, my bike's got 'em

Last week was not a good one for riding. I had a bad cold, so I missed the day with the nicest weather. The next two days brought nastier weather than I felt like riding in, especially finishing up in deep dusk, regardless of the lights. But I finished off the week with a ride on Saturday.

I spent a few hours yesterday getting the fenders on the Cross Check. I won't expose it to road salt, but I will have to take some rain with it if I intend to try commuting into the darker months. Either that or get a thermonuclear light set on Silver the rain bike. I'm sorely tempted. I have to pay off the first light before I can get another one.

Maybe I'll try to revive my ancient set from the 1980s for Silver. If I do that it will probably prevent me from flipping the wheel because it needs to stay in the same position relative to the generator. I would use the Sanyo bottom bracket generator, so maybe I could rig a sliding bracket. I just don't know if everything works. I'll probably just wuss out and take the car in case of real rain.

The front derailleur presses on the fender when I shift to the outer ring. It's not bad enough to prevent shifting or move the fender significantly, but it's annoying. If I space the fender back from the seat tube I can't get the rear wheel in and out of the dropouts. Mildly annoying since I tend to be a bit neurotic about function and aesthetics within my own strange standards. I hate for things to be just slapped in there. I just need to ride it to see if it will bug me.

Cross Checks are prone to toe overlap. It already made the bike a bit tricky on technical terrain. The fenders increase the overlap. I was surprised how little I encountered it on test-circles in my driveway, however. On low speed, tight turns I would have nipped the front wheel even without the fender. Again, only riding will tell me whether I can put up with it. I know how great it feels to hit a wet stretch of road and not have a spray of water and grit come squirting up all over everything.

On the way home on Saturday I discovered my generator drive roller wasn't turning consistently. The drawback to the stand light feature is that in less than full darkness you might not notice that the generator's output is repeatedly interrupted. The backup power kicks in to keep the beam shining, albeit at less than full intensity. I happened to notice the odd rhythm coming from the generator, so I stopped to investigate. The rubber roller was almost completely worn away in just a few rides. I nursed it the rest of the way home because I had to.

I believe I did not have the bracket tight enough. I was trying to keep from marring the paint too badly, using a rubber shim under the radius of the clamp. I accepted that the set screw on the inside of the seat stay would have to bite in. I hoped to limit the damage to that. As a result, the generator could wiggle out of alignment and lose contact with the tire. Or I could have a bad generator, but it will cost me another roller to find out.

I have not had the best luck with prompt shipping from Peter White Cycles. Neither of my orders so far have shipped on the day they were placed. The first order included all the equipment for the light set, so I accepted the delay. But this one is four rollers in a padded envelope. If I had planned to ride tomorrow I would be out of luck. Shipping from such a short distance definitely only takes overnight, but that's from the time it actually ships.

Fortunately the weather is supposed to be wet again and I carpool with the cellist on Wednesdays. With luck the errant rollers will have rolled in with tomorrow's mail.


RANTWICK said...

Hmmm... fender-derailleur issues... I'm not there yet, but I'm off to inspect the 520...


RANTWICK said...

I forgot to mention how much I liked your title. Instant recognition.


James Stollenwerck said...

Big Bottom, Big Bottom, talk about mud flaps, my gal's got 'em...This Is Spinal Tap, one of the greatest satires ever. Thank you for reminding me.

limom said...

Fender problem?
One word: Dremel.

cafiend said...

I cut a piece right out of my old ESGE chromoplastics for the Union sidewall generator. I'm going to see if I can avoid such surgery this time. Down at the derailleur I would have to whack a lot out of there, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having the fender in the first place. It not only protects me, it keeps some crud off the crank and derailleur. I can't imagine I'm the only rider to deal with this.

cafiend said...

@ James: We must always revere the classics.

limom said...

Propane torch?
Though I've never tried to form ABS, if that's what it is.

Thumb Twiddler said...

"Neither of my orders so far have shipped on the day they were placed."

Patience is a virtue.

cafiend said...

Lights are a survival issue when night grows larger than day. It was still fairly quick.