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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Bike maintenance

Regular readers of this blog know that I see bike maintenance as something to enjoy, not a chore. While I was out yesterday, my odometer informed me that I've done 1000 kilometers since I installed the two-speed motor, so I used this as an excuse for a bit of maintenance.

First, the inner tube on the back wheel. The valve should be at right angles to the rim; if it's at an angle, that's not good, because if the angle is extreme, it can damage the valve, letting all the air out of the tire. That happened to me once; I set off on a circuit knowing that the angle was pretty bad, and while I was in the middle of nowhere, it let me down. Luckily (it isn't luck, of course) I was carrying a spare inner tube and all the tools I needed to replace it, so after maybe 30 minutes, I was on my way again. Better, of course, is if this doesn't happen.
So I turned the bike upside down, let all the air out of the tube, squeezed it and tugged it until the valve was right angles, then re-inflated it. It looks good now.

The left pedal has been giving a problem. It gets stiff, then stiffer, and eventually won't rotate on its spindle. Oiling it has freed it in the past, but it soon seizes up again. A pair of pedals is only £6.80, so I decided to replace that pedal. Then I checked the other one, and the bearings were badly worn, so I've replaced that too. I suppose at £6.80 per pair, you can't expect durability. I'm happy with how long it lasted.

And I checked the brakes. The way I ride, it's my rear brake that gets most of the wear; I use that for slowing down, and only use the front brake when I need to stop abruptly - for example, when the PDA falls out of its holder and bounces to the ground. I replaced the rear brake pads very recently, so they were fine. The front brakes were good too, so I just did a slight adjustment.

The PDA holder has been a bit wobbly. The problem is, the bit that grips the PDA, has a loose mating with the bit that attaches to the bike. I looked at it to see if there was any way I could tighten it up, but after a bit of thought, I've replaced the bit that attaches to the bike, and now the connection is nice and solid. But when the holder breaks (the plastic really isn't strong enough), that's the part that goes. So I'll add the replaced part to my standard kit of tools that I carry on the bike, so that next time it breaks, I might not need to improvise with a few rubber bands.

I've added a hand pump to the in-car tool kit. Because if the battery-operated pump ran out of juice, it would mean I wouldn't have to rely on the rather small pump that I carry on the bike. And a bike pump isn't exactly heavy for a car to carry.

I also did a bit of reparative work on my bike helmet. I've taped a bit of foam to the front, where my forehead goes. That had come loose, so I duct taped it. The foam is there to give a little bit of extra padding in case of accident, although in all my years of biking, I've never (thank Ceiling Cat) been in an accident where a bike helmet came into play. Usually, I just fall off the bike and hurt my arm, shoulder or hip. That hasn't happened for a while, thank Flying Spaghetti Monster

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