14 April 2011

Bike-commute day 15—to work
Time for the Spring tune-up

I rode the least likely bike for good times today, so I can bring it to Kettering Bike Shop for a minor tune-up. I've been planning a biking trip for Easter weekend: drive to Mammoth Cave KY and do some road biking on Good Friday, take the Grand Avenue tour and meet some members of the Bowling Green Bicycle Adventures for riding the Sal Hollow Trail on Saturday, and take the Introduction to Caving and perhaps some road biking on Easter Sunday, then drive back to Dayton late that day. And this bike, meant for stump-jumping and challenging trails, needs some alignment of its shifting. The small sprocket in front doesn't keep the chain well, and sometimes an energetic shift will throw the chain off the big sprocket. In the cassette cogs, there is a lot of sloppy action when the chain is forced to cross from the inner cogs to the outer front sprocket.

I've tried adjusting the shift movement myself in years past, but it is a frustrating chore if you have neither patience nor practice. The better alternative is to have a reliable bike shop do this for you. Typically the cost is under $35. You can find several websites that guide you in adjusting the shifters and brakes—almost too many offer their advice. Here are some sites for adjusting the shifters, and each has a connecting link to information for adjusting brakes.
The sloppy shifting comes from a couple sources. The most common source is the gradual stretch that shift cables naturally go through for the first few months of use. This stretching is recognized by bike shops, who encourage you to return for a tightening a month or so after receiving new cables. Another source of sloppy shifting comes near the end of a cable's useful life, when the metal breaks down, becomes brittle, or frays at friction points. In addition to the cable, the mechanical assemblies that hold the cable to a shifter, derailleur, or brake can loosen or fail. Your bike mechanic will notice and repair the developing failures of cables or attachments, but the cost of materials may increase the basic price for a cable tune-up.

Because commuting by bike from March through October can total almost 3000 miles, I usually take each bike in for a tune-up once a year.

Housekeeping notes
  • Creekside Trail had small amounts of broken glass at several locations between Fairpark Avenue and Airway Road.
  • Creekside Trail had a fallen tree across the path about 0.4 mile north of the trestle ruins.
  • Iron Horse Trail had broken glass about 0.1 mile north of the pedestrian access at Arcadia Avenue.
  • Iron Horse Trail had broken glass at the bridge as the bikeway joins Spaulding Road.
Ride conditions
Temperature: 37 to 43°F at 07:10, 51 to 56°F at 09:15
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm
Clothing: 3-layer top, 2-layer bottom; ankle socks. Goretex full-finger gloves.
Bike: Mongoose MGX D40
Time: 0:56:00 (approx.) for 11.86 miles
Bikeway users: 1 cyclist, 2 pedestrians, 1 dog

08:16—departing from home.
08:29—passing the zig-zag down to the Mad River Bikeway.
08:41—passing the west gate to Eastwood Park.
08:56—passing the trestle remains at Linden.
09:12—arriving at work.

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