Friday, July 24, 2009

Reap the Tailwind

Got lucky with the weather Wednesday and Thursday. I needed to get home in a hurry for a zoning board meeting Wednesday. The southerly kicked in, so I rode the express.

Thursday morning I needed to get to town early to cover for absent coworkers. Presto, the wind had shifted, so I got the boost again.

It all went in the crapper this morning. A tropical downpour sent streams rushing down my driveway. The torrent overcame my roof drain system and put a pond under my workbench.

Complex jobs pile up in the workshop. My one co-mechanic seems to have quit without notice. It's under the guise of a vacation right now, but I know he's had enough of the craziness. Since he has other employment options, I'm not surprised his patience has run out with this one. Stinks for me, because he was good with a wrench and learned new procedures quickly. I can't fault him for wanting to escape, though.

One project at a time I ease them through. Finished assembling a Co-Motion tandem today. It took up a lot of space in the shop. It's weird working on something with its ends that far apart.

Next up, a tuneup and extras for Captain Corrosion, a phenomenal crud generator. On the other stand, another mechanic fought his way through a Crank of Death and brake replacement on an undistinguished Schwein someone wants to take on a plane to Australia. What, they don't have crappy beater bikes in Australia? Ours is not to reason why.

Against this backdrop (and plenty of other stuff in the pipeline) came all the emergency flat repairs and broken spoke replacements.

We had spotty coverage in the front of the house, so one or the other of us kept having to leave a workstand to babysit browsers in the clothing department or ring up purchases. At full summer volume the place really needs one person on the front end and two in service. In the brief periods when repairs slow down, one mechanic can be a floater to back up the sales force. When things are really rocking we can keep a person busy at the register, one on the bike sales floor and two at work stands.

Then in about a month it's all over. But don't wish your life away. The summer is like a racing season. You don't want to break yourself down with constant efforts at 75 percent. You have a duty to rest so you can go hard when the pace picks up. Try to enjoy every phase.


Doohickie said...

The bonus is when you get the wind following you into work, then it shifts during the day and chases you back home. That seems to happen only about once every one or two months for me.

Prevailing winds around here are out of the south. I work northeast of my home, so the wind typically chases me. My house is at a high spot, so the ride to work is usually downhill with a tailwind.

During the winter it really sucks riding home... uphill, with a typical wind of 25-30 mph.

I kind of wish I could get paid to work on bikes. My best hope is to fix up bikes on the side and sell them on Craigslist. But it will never really be much more than a hobby, at least until I retire (in another 20 years, give or take).

cafiend said...

The 2-way tailwind is indeed a rare and cherished experience.

I'm fortunate that my starting and ending elevations are fairly close. The wooded, hilly terrain breaks up the wind. I get slapped around by the turbulence of an unfavorable wind, but I don't have to grind my way into it on endless open stretches.

I kind of wish I could work on bikes in an area where more people were able to use them for practical purposes. Things are very spread out in this rural area, so the riding can be very nice, but you have to have time to devote to it. Most people perceive the cycling season as short. Many are seasonal residents or visitors. I'm beyond the outer fringes of transportation cycling culture.

RCMC467 said...

I believe I have the right to take it personally when the wind shifts with every turn I make--keeping me riding into a headwind no matter which direction I'm moving.


cafiend said...


RCMC467 said...


Just as I arrived at work yesterday, I heard a screatch and a scratch from the bottom bracket of my Fuji Roubaix!!! Is it dead? Does it need a lube job? It was from the left crank side of the BB and it also feels stiff when I turn it by hand.

Any ideas or advice? Anyone?


cafiend said...

The bike is used, right? The bearings in the BB could be dry/worn. You can get replacements. You might have to order them. There's also a little bitty, inconsequential looking O-ring thingie that goes between the crank arm and the plastic cover over the bearing on either side.

If the bike has its stock crank you probably don't need a sleeve inside the B shell for the crank arms to secure against. The left arm probably secures to the BB axle with two pinch bolts. A cap bolt in the end of the BB axle merely sets the pressure on the bearing. Loosen the pinch bolts and remove the cap bolt. Pull off the left arm. Then you can tap the right crank arm and axle out of the bearings with a rubber mallet. That way you can feel up the bearings, although that might not tell you much.

There will be another little O-ring thingie around the crank axle behind the right crank arm.

You'll really need to cultivate a relationship with advisors who can be there in person. The problems you detect could also come from other causes.

Whenever you take anything apart, lay it out in the order you removed it. Take notes. Draw yourself diagrams. Eventually you will find yourself doing things without having to think about it.