A collection of thoughts…

…regarding working on my bike.

I get so flustered when working on my bike in front of a mechanic, especially if it’s someone I’m sorta friendly with whom I’d like to impress. I want to look competent, dammit, but I get nervous and screw up on the stupidest stuff.

For instance: putting my bike on the work stand. I think because I’m right-handed, I always stand/walk with my bike on my right side. If I try to walk my bike on my left side, it feels so weird I have to switch. Now, if you were to ask me, “April, if you put a bike on a work stand, which side should face you?” I’d easily answer, “The drive train side.” Have I ever, once, managed to do that? No. I walk up to the work stand, with the bike to the right of me, I turn to the stand and put it up just like that–with the drive train away from me. *sigh*

Oh, and due to my weak arms (I really should work on that), I have trouble getting it up there anyway. Even though the Novara is a light-ish bike and there’s nothing on it right now–no fenders, no racks, no kickstand, no lock, not even a saddle–it was wobbly when I lifted it, and realized I needed to use one of my hands to close the clamp.

But the old stem, which reached way too far forward, is out, a procedure that ended up involving a hammer and WD-40 (how the heck did water get in the headset?! it’s been indoors for months!). I had fun taking off the old brake levers and getting the handlebars out. It’s always fun, I think, to take things apart. The stem that’s now on there was the one on my Miyata when I bought it. It’s not new or fancy, but it’s about an inch taller, and the reach is almost two inches shorter, yay! I have no idea how people ride all stretched-out, all that weight on their wrists. I like riding almost totally upright.

I always love it when I can make things work with stuff I already have around. The stem currently on my Miyata was originally on the Carabela mixte!

I’m slightly heart-broken to discover that my double kickstand (a picture of it in action on my Miyata here) won’t fit on the Novara. The Novara is a small bike, a 48cm, and there’s just not enough room in the chainstays. I love that double kickstand–I used it all the time when the bike was loaded, because it made it easy to get into my bags, and I didn’t have to look for a place to lean the bike. Leaning the bike was awkward anyway, with only rear bags, it tended to want to fall over if I leaned it on a pole or something narrow.

Plus, Shawn gave me that kickstand. *sigh* I’ll live. I know some people like click-stands, but it’s not as easy and fast (or as stable, I’d guess) as a kickstand. Does weigh less, though, so there’s that.

Sue at the shop told me how to find out the date of my Novara, that it’s the first digit or two of the serial number. Voila, I now know that my Novara Randonee was made in 1995. I had previously guessed early-to-mid 90’s based purely on the visual design, nice to know I was guessing in the right direction.

I currently cannot get the tires off the Novara’s wheels. I wanted to put Schwalbe Marathon tires on, but I figured I could do that at home, so I didn’t take them with me to the shop. I took the front wheel off, and then started trying to get the tire off. It does not want to come off! I broke one of Shawn’s tire levers getting one bead off, and now we can’t get the other one off. We’ve tried to do it with our hands until they ache, the levers are useless. Sheldon Brown (RIP) says there’s a tool called a “bead jack” that can get it off, but of course the shop is closed now…and is closed on Mondays. Oh well.

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1 Response to A collection of thoughts…

  1. Julianne says:

    Oh, I second every single word! Getting a bike on a stand is so tricky, and I have a ladies loop frame with creative brake cable routing that makes it even trickier! Last week I was struggling to get a tire off and a total noob offered to help. It was out of kindness and ‘I have stronger arms than you’ but I couldn’t submit!

    Good luck with the bike building!

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