walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trust The Bike

...This has long been my #1 Rule of Cycling.  It evolved out of an entry in someone's racing blog -- I think it was probably SDC's -- wherein he lovingly described the way roadies emerge from their roller-filled basements in the spring, take to the road, and learn once again to trust their bikes through the turns.  It was more eloquent than that, but I think you get the gist.

Okay, maybe #3, right after #1, Ride What You Love (or just Ride What You've Got), and #2, HTFU, which is Rule 5 according to the Velominati ;)

However, I have been somewhat deficient in this area of late.

Though I joke about QS being a persnickety prima donna, in fact, the bike is nearly twenty years old, and, as Billy at the shop once pointed out, I 'ride the hell out of it.'  It's not that QS isn't a trustworthy machine -- it's just that, given his Elder Statesman status, he may warrant a little more maintenance, perhaps, than his younger brethren.

Eventual failure of mechanical parts is a given, if you use the machine to which they're affixed. There's no way around it. Should I be terribly surprised, after all of last year's and January's miles, plus a good thirty miles in February, riding hard, often sprinting and climbing in the drops, on the big ring -- hot on the heels of two non-riding weeks induced by a wreck which threw the whole stem out of alignment -- that I needed to tighten the stem clamp? (Is that, in fact, what the thingy-that-keeps-your-bars-from-falling-off is called? I'm so lost when it comes to old-skool stems.)


This is one of the reasons I'm glad -- okay, terrified, but also glad -- that it appears I'm going to be wrenching as well as riding at work.

There was a time not that long ago when I didn't really want to learn how to do all the finicky stuff: I was happy being able to change tires and adjust the pull of a pair of v-brakes. I wanted nothing to do with derailleur maintenance, for example: I was afraid I would break something that I couldn't afford to replace!

Over the past week or so, though, I've found myself fiddling with QS's FD a lot. I've been thinking about fiddling with the RD.  And, of course, I've developed a habit of checking the little bolt that holds the stem clamp (if that is its real name) shut, because frankly that bar-rotation stuff was just terrifying -- and, honestly, there's nothing wrong with that, because when I'm on the road, I want to know I can trust my bike...

...And barring catastrophic tube failures, which are both rare and hard to predict, if you maintain your bike, you can trust your bike.  Period.

So I've decided that part of my campaign to rebuild total trust in my machine will be learning to maintain it more effectively.

Meanwhile, does anyone have a solid solution for a stuck seatpost?  Because my new one just arrived, and my old one is stuckstuckstuck.  :::sigh:::

Edit: I slightly tweaked the angle of my bars, and now I'm feeling much better on the bike.

Apparently, I've grown rather used to my aggressive-roadie position, and I just don't feel right in a slightly-more-relaxed, tour-y position.  (I also feel okay in a more upright, mountain-bikey position on Swift.)


  1. Here are 17 ways to get a seatpost out:

  2. I have referred to Sheldon on so many occasions....

  3. OMG, why didn't I think of Saint Sheldon??? If he doesn't have the answer, there probably isn't one. I'll give it a go!

    Thanks, guys!