New Wheels and Chain

Last week was another good week of riding with a great ride on Saturday of 26 miles. Saturday wasn’t without issues though and it came from a source I’ve had problems with in the past. My wheelset. If you’re a heavier rider and having wheel problems you may want to check this out. My try at completing my first century back in 2009 was wrecked by issues with my wheelset. I was just too heavy for them and they finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks before the century. Buying a new wheeset for that old bike just wasn’t practical so I didn’t get to ride the century. Fastforward to now and I’m experiencing a similar problem. I’ve broken three spokes over the last couple of months with the last one being two weekends ago during the Tour de Cure training ride I did. I had the wheel fixed that day but over the course of last weeks riding I began to experience a lot of noise from the rear wheel and when I stopped to check it on Saturday’s ride I found several loose spokes. I finished the ride but knew that I had to do something. Over the weekend I visited two different shops to get opinions. Both recommended a different wheelset due to my weight (275) which didn’t surprise me. I did get a good lesson on different wheel types and what makes one stronger than another. The biggest incompatibility problem with me and my current wheelset is that it uses straight pull spokes. Straight pull spokes are used on a lot of different...

Don’t Get Caught Without A Rubber

I had some great plans this weekend and I was excited. I posted a pic on Dailymile of the five-day forecast and the great weather we were going to have. It made for a great opportunity to get out and work up a sweat. Then, on Saturday, I was given a dose of reality as I violated one of those unwritten rules every dude should know. I got caught without a rubber. Sorry about that but I just couldn’t resist that post title. The rubber I’m referring to is, of course, a tube for my road bike. The weather this weekend has been perfect here in North Florida and I was super excited about a nice two-hour early morning ride on Saturday. Fate, on the other hand, had different plans. I got up, went through my whole morning routine of getting kitted up, drinking 4 oz of water mixed with 4 oz of juice, and eating half a banana. I even had about half a cup of coffee. What was even better was that I was going to be able to ride without tights and arm warmers. That alone had me totally jacked to ride. Ah, ignorance is bliss. Once down in the garage I immediately noticed my back tire was flat. If I was going to have one I’d rather it be now than out on the road so I set about changing it. I had one spare tube in my seat bag so I pulled it out and quickly swapped it out with the bad one. Before putting the new one in, an inspection of the tire...

Broken Spokes, Not Broken Spirits

My riding has been a little sporadic lately. I’ve gotten two or three early morning rides during the week but nothing consistent. I could make the typical excuses – I’m tired, sick, need the rest, blah, blah, blah. I’ll save my breath and your time. Great Day For A Ride I hit the road on Saturday for a planned 20 mile ride but only ended up getting about 12 in. It was a beautiful morning for a ride with the skies partly cloudy and the temps in the mid 60s. Just an awesome morning to be out for a ride. And I felt pretty good too. A perfect recipe for problems. Until The ‘Twang’ At about the six mile point I’m riding along and I hear a ‘Twang’ followed by the sound of a metallic object bouncing on the road. I immediately pull over and start walking back to where the sound occurred to see if I could see what the object was. I see it and immediately recognize it as a spoke. I look at my rear wheel and found where it came from. Now I could either call the SAG WagonSAG wagon: Support motor vehicle following long races or recreational rides to pick up riders unable to complete the event. In other words, I'd have to call my wife. or try and make it home. I decided to ride a little bit and see how it went. I didn’t ride hard the last six miles home and the wheel held up just fine. Cycling Tip: If your broken spoke is still attached to the rim, just bend...

The Crank Problem Is Far From Over

Yesterday I explained in length how I was missing the compression nut (actually called an ‘External Crank Arm Fixing Bolt) on my cranks and that’s what was causing my left crank arm to keep coming loose. Remember how I went to the bike shop in town that sold Specialized bikes to get the part? Well, they sold me the wrong one. Go figure. This was discovered when I took my bike to my favorite local bike shop to have yhe bottom bracket serviced and the nut put on (due to needing a special tool). After some searching, the mechanic verfied they don’t have what I need in stock and couldn’t find one via their online sources. They will call Sugino (the maker of the cranks on my Allez) to see if they can get the part. If they can’t, I did find what looks to be the right part on Amazon. It also looks like you don’t need a special tool for it but I’ll have my BB serviced anyway. In short, it looks like I’ll be without my road bike for at least the weekend and into next week. Why, oh why didn’t I take care of this when I wasn’t...

Cranks, Nuts, and a Tshirt

This mornings ride was very low key because I can’t ride my road bike right now (see below) and because I’m taking it easy until my body readjusts to riding again. I took the hybrid out for a short three mile loop. I’ll ride the hybrid for a few more days until I get the Allez back from the shop. Why I Have A Crank Problem Yesterday you may remember that I had a problem with left crank arm again where it wants to come off during my rides. I’ve replaced both bolts that hold it on to no avail. Yesterday, while heading to Lowes (a local home improvement store) to get some Blue Loctite, I stopped into a local bike shop to talk to a mechanic about my crank problems (no jokes please). It turns out that I’m missing the compression nut that screws into the left-side of the crank arm. The mechanic says that without that nut I’ll never be able to keep the crank arm on. Here’s a diagram of what I’m talking about. The compression nut is part #5. This particular shop would have had to order me a nut (no, my nickname isn’t Juan Pelota) because they don’t sale Specialized bikes. I left there and headed over to the shop that carries Specialized bikes to pick up the nut which was only $5. Today I’m going to take my bike back to shop #1 to have them overhaul my bottom bracket and put the nut on. Just so you know, that nut requires a special tool (TL-FC16 in the figure above). It looks like...

Last Weekend of Riding in Dallas

With this past weekend being my last weekend in Dallas I wanted to get a good ride in on Saturday. One of the first rides I did here was a complete loop of White Rock Lake, plus the trail north, with one of my readers Cliff. I wanted to do the same ride again to basically close out my riding time here in Dallas. Saturday morning broke very nice with sun and no clouds. I took off from the house at about 9:00 AM and made my way down to where I access the lake or trail. Instead of heading straight to the lake I hit the northbound trail first to really mix things up. It was awesome! I hadn’t ridden this section of the trail (past the tennis courts) in a long time and on an early Saturday morning it was great. There was some water puddles and mud due to train the previous night that got both me and the bike pretty grimy but it was still good. I made it up to the turn-around point, took a short water break and watched some kids play soccer, then took off again. [pullquote]By the time I hit the lake the wind was gusting to 30 mph.[/pullquote] As I headed back towards the lake I could feel the wind starting to build. And build it did. There was a reason the lake was covered with sail boats. I just dealt with it and kept on turning the pedals and enjoying the ride. All said and done I rode 30.28 miles on Saturday morning in 2 hours and 19 minutes....
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