Archive for January, 2009


Wedding preparations are taking most of my non-work time. We’re spending about the same amount on rings, photographer, and food. I’m glad we don’t have much in the way of expenses, though I do have to mentally slap myself every time I catch myself considering bicycle-related uses to which the saved half of my paychecks could be put. No, that goes into savings. It is not for bicycles. I will have money for bicycles bit by bit and cannot afford to spend $250 on wheels when I can get plenty of parts for almost nothing at the co-op.

I do have two flip-flop hubs to buy, though the money will come from the non-saved half of my paychecks: one for my fixie and one for my dad’s.

Missing the co-op lately, since I haven’t had time to go….


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Been drooling over the Xtracycle kit some more, now that I’ve got three frames at home that are in no shape to ride and need to be taken to the co-op to be worked on. Only one has both wheels, but I threw out one tire because of dry rot and I’m suspicious of the other; another frame has a rear wheel, one has none…all three are missing other vital parts also.

The blue Raleigh will be my mate’s road bike once I fix it up a bit. I rebuilt the wheels in the co-op’s wheelbuilding class after cleaning all the parts, so they’re nice and shiny now. The bike is missing a few other parts, but I can get those from the co-op. I just have to get it there.

The zebra-striped frame (my dad painted it years ago) will be my fixed-gear. That’s the one missing both wheels. I want to get the parts and build the wheels myself for more practice. I could probably get most of the parts through the co-op but I kinda want it all to be new >_> Might look kind of odd on an old repainted frame though — maybe I should just get the hub and hope the spokes work for it.

I’m not sure, yet, what to do with the orange Raleigh. I was thinking maybe I’d have it be an all-weather bike and put an Xtracycle on my hybrid, make that one a real cargo bike. I’d need good tires for the Raleigh and a front wheel (and a whole bunch of other parts), but I’d get those from the co-op for cheap

The question of getting them to the co-op is kind of moot, though, since friends of his family plan to sell their minivan to us shortly (we’re waiting on the bank loan). It’s not completely moot, because I almost always prefer to ride rather than drive, though it’d be a pain in the ass to get two bikes down from my third floor apartment.

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Requiem for a car

Well, not a requiem, really. I only sold it, didn’t junk it (I couldn’t bring myself to do that). From the look of the guy (and his willingness to take it without finding out every little thing wrong with it), I’d guess he’s going to fix it up and maybe sell it to someone else. That, or put it into a monster truck arena, but I can’t imagine somebody would pay $300 for a car just to smash it.

I’m going to stop thinking about that now.

It wasn’t my first car, but considering I got it when I was 17 (I think), it seemed like my first car. But at 175,000+ miles, when one brake started spraying fluid all over and another started making screechy noises, and they told me it would be $480 to fix…. The car sat around for a few weeks. Now we’ve got another vehicle we’re buying (never thought I’d have a minivan, but it’ll be useful on our road trips) and need to make room…also the insurance is running out.

It’s a good car still. Proved it when he tried to start it: it coughed a little the first time, but the second time it started just like it was summer and not 0°F after being below zero for a day and a half. “I’m still good!” I managed not to tear up then but I admit it, I cried a little later. It’s just a car, Netta, it doesn’t have feelings. It doesn’t feel abandoned. You can stop feeling guilty about not vacuuming it out for the last couple of years, not driving it regularly, and not getting the bumper fixed after that hit-and-run 7 years ago. It doesn’t know.

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Too damn cold!

I need to write a letter to the editor or something explaining to idiot drivers that no, I will not move over for them, because I’m already riding as close to the right as I can — in the tracks made by the cars where the road is mostly visible. I will not ride in the packed snow where my wheels go all over the place just so your self-righteous ass doesn’t have to wait for ten seconds for an opening (which it doesn’t, because there’s nobody coming on the other side of the road). Stop trailing behind me at 7 mph flashing your lights; there’s plenty of room on the other side of the road. You know, the side you use to pass other cars? The side that oncoming traffic would use if it were there, but it’s not, so fucking use it and pass me already!

Boss is letting me work from home tomorrow, thank God. It’s 2°F right now and only going to get colder. My gear is about limited to the 5° that it was for my ride home yesterday, without snow, and with snow I can’t go as fast to keep my cadence up because I’m too afraid of falling, so probably 10 or 15° would be the lower bound. I was too cold tonight.

So, too cold for a bike tomorrow, but we’ll see if we can borrow the future-in-laws’ van and get some food, because we’re about out of groceries and I’m hungry and can’t take my bike to go get food.

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Yay snow!

And more to come!

Can’t say I’m really in the mood for it, though. After that first fall on ice that I thought was water, I’ve been pretty nervous about hitting the ground. And with a few inches of snow having been packed down into an inch or so of …stuff (not slush, just packed snow, I guess), I have to be pretty careful. My tires slip whenever I cross a tire track, and I’m grateful that Champaign has plenty of residential roads that are well used, because otherwise I’d be riding on the two-lane not-wide-enough-for-bikes road that is Kirby, trying to go as fast as I can and battling the fear that some crazy bitch or jackass going too fast for conditions while talking on a cell phone and drinking a latte is not going to be able to avoid hitting me.

I want a recumbent trike for this kind of weather so I don’t have to worry about falling over. It’s scary when your wheels slip out from under you, even if you don’t fall. Especially when cars like to give you three feet of space, not nearly enough to avoid you if your bike suddenly decides it would be more comfortable lying flat on the ground.

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Too cold

Well, it’s the wind, really, that messes with you. And the snow in the eyes — that’s annoying too.

Thursday’s going to be a bitch. I’ve seen projected highs of anywhere from 2 to 8°F (currently 4 according to accuweather). That means it’ll be considerably colder for my commutes on either side. I may ask my boss if I can work from home, because I’m not sure I have the gear to ride in that weather and I really hate depending on other people for rides.

We’ll be getting a vehicle shortly, though probably not before Thursday — friends of his family are getting a new vehicle and selling their minivan. It’ll be nice for the honeymoon to save a few hundred dollars by camping out in the van some nights, since it’ll be warm enough. And it’ll be easier to carry the bikes, though what we’re going to do with them while we sleep, I’m not sure.

Oohh, just the thought of nice warm weather makes me want to either laugh or cry, I’m not sure which.

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Wheelbuilding: a protip

The co-op had a wheelbuilding class for staff members (of which I am one) last Saturday and there’ll be another one next Saturday also. Not having yet committed to buying new wheels for my upcoming fixed-gear, I rebuilt one of the wheels that came with the Raleigh I’m fixing up for my fiancé. And not knowing how to take it apart, I spent the first hour of  the class doing just that (and cleaning it, which took a fair amount of time also).

So I thought for the next one I’d take the wheel apart beforehand. I thought this while my friends were discussing tabletop gaming, which I never got into, at the apartment Saturday night. I thought this…without the tools to take the freewheel off. And realized my mistake just afterwards.

So I spent Sunday putting the wheel back together, with all the spokes on at once instead of putting them on as needed, because you can neither take them off nor put them on with the gears attached to the hub. Then I attempted to remove the cassette, which was being a little bitch. Got some help from Wayne (and a little more advice than I needed, though given what I was doing it probably looked like I had no clue about bicycles at all) and in five seconds he had the thing loose. I comforted myself with the thought that I probably was trying to turn it the wrong way, which was not comforting because that would make me a dumbass rather than a weakling, and I’d rather be smart than strong.

Once I had the cassette off, taking the hub apart was a simple matter (remove the washer from one side and the cone comes right off, pull out the axle). I cleaned everything and repacked the hub (you can’t really have too much grease in there, though you don’t want so much that it gooks up the freewheel) and now I’ve got a shiny hub, some not-quite-so-corroded spokes, and a rusty rim that I forgot to apply steel wool to. All set for Saturday’s class.

But I won’t forget that lesson anytime soon.

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