A regular grease monkey

By | March 26, 2010

what a face!

what a face!

The kids and I spent a couple of hours fixing up Daddy’s bike. Here’s Mr. T as I was showing him how we were going to clean the chain – he spins the pedals and I wipe. They are SO excited to get their own bikes to clean now. (Yeah, not ride, clean. Weird kids)

I cleaned and scrubbed and flossed and scraped and managed to get all the accumulated road dirt off. Although – there’s still quite a lot of gunk inside the derailleurs and under the crank arms – but I’m not confident enough to start disassembling yet. I did manage to complete a brake job though, I am very proud of myself. Installed new front brakes, and tweaked the back brakes, and they work. Nice. Installed the rack just as my husband pulled into the driveway, at which point he decided to  play with the derailleurs to see if he could fix them. For some reason, it couldn’t hit the highest or lowest gear – so he tinkered with it. Now, it’s stuck in the middle gear.

Bike repair tally: Me 1, Hubby 0

Am I gloating? Maybe a little.

It still goes, even if it is an unintentional ‘fixie’ right now. After the kids went to bed I took it to run some errands. I wore myself out in the first five minutes, because it was so exciting going fast that I overdid it. I just couldn’t get over the SPEED! AGILITY! RESPONSIVENESS! If my quads weren’t burning I would have stayed out a while longer. Also, the lack of chain guard and the fact that I was wearing new jeans…

Other bonus – went up to Bloor Street. At the library, just left the bike by the side door, ducked in, and came back out to find bike right where I left it. LCBO has a nice big vestibule, left the bike inside, ducked in and kept my eye on the bike. Sweet. I used to loathe going up to Bloor Street to shop or go to the library. Parking is hard to find, and you have to pay – $2 a half hour or something. Now, it’s free.


Also – revelation of the year: going fast in a car is fun. Going fast on a bike is thrilling. ‘Nuff said.


Joe T. on March 26, 2010 at 8:00 am.

The DECABikes (Danforth East) people are having a tune-up workshop tomorrow near Woodbine and Danforth… they can probably show you how to clean that derailleur if you want to ride out east (or pop your husband’s bike on the subway to get there).


Joe T. on March 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm.

I live near where the workshop is being held… so if anyone is going, let me know and you can meet this “Joe” guy. :)

michael holloway on March 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm.

Derailer “couldn’t hit the highest or lowest gear.”

There are two tiny screws on the derailers: one is a stop ‘high’, the other ‘low’ (sounds like he may have tightened them both the wrong way – to the middle?).

I always set the stop on the smallest sprocket first (derailer spring ‘relaxed’). Then, connect the cable to the derailer – then set the stop for the largest sprocket.


michael holloway on March 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm.

Image of set limit screws:

cFletch on March 27, 2010 at 9:24 am.

Michael: that’s what he was tinkering with. I suspect the problem lies deeper than a mis-adjustment… this is after all an old and neglected bike. I’m going to look into taking it all apart – maybe a good cleaning and then careful reassembly will fix it.

xcskiermom on March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm.

Hello Claire,

Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. Yours was the first blog I happened to come across when I joined the site and I now I click back every few days to catch up.
Congrats on the move to go “car-free”… it’s a brave thing to do with three little kids. Coincidently, we live in the same area so I am familiar with all the sites you mention. I spent many days when my daughter was younger (she’s now almost 13!) seeking out safe routes to cycle to the various parks in our neighbourhood. Now, you’re motivating me to pump up the tires on that old trailer and use it to run errands. It’s so easy to jump in the car….we forget the sense of freedom that the bike can offer.


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