Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Road Tank

As planned, I went to Working Bikes today and picked up an 'everyday road bike'. He is the Road Tank--a perfect bike for 'training'. I think he is made out of lead, because it is unbelievable how heavy he is considering how tiny he looks. The staff at WB were joking with me that his frame didn't consist of tubes, but instead solid metal bars. Besides being heavy, this Schwinn Collegiate has a few other interesting characteristics:
  • A single chainring,
  • Freewheel bottom bracket,
  • Superman-Blue w/ matching blue seat,
  • Cute (probably useless) little crome fenders,
  • Plus, like the Mint Julep frame--this is another Chicago-built Schwinn

He is a five-speed bike, with gears much lower than I prefer to ride. In order to ride this bike fast, I will be forced to pedal faster instead of relying on the gears to give me speed. Isn't this just the perfect training bike for me?--heavy, low gears, but with road bike geometry and drop bars.

Halfway home, a weird sensation occurred--every few pedal strokes, the bikechain 'hiccupped' and felt like the bike was changing gears. I'll have to investigate this. Besides that problem, there are a few other concerns that I need to deal with tomorrow in order to ride him into work on Monday:

  • major seat adjustments,
  • significant brake adjustments (especially the rear),
  • general cleaning/lubrication,
  • swap the rear rack from off of the Bianchi

Plus, I think the front wheel may be out of true. I guess I'll have to spend some time dealing with the wheel at West Town Bikes sometime soon and try to true it up. Ugh. Or, I'll pay/bribe/sweet talk somebody else into doing this for me.

Additionally, this Tues, Weds, Thurs is the Cycling Sisters' 'convert your bike to a fixie' workshop! This means that besides spending Sunday working on the Road Tank, I will also need to get wheels to convert the Mint Julep. Since the Road Tank will have low gears, I think I will gear the fixie high. I expect that she's going to be ridden almost exclusively within city limits, so I don't have to worry about unexpected hills. I also expect that I will ride her in groups of fast riders, so I'll actually need the high gear.

Together the Julep and the Road Tank should help me become a stronger rider. I want touring/bike-packing trips to be more fun than challenging this summer, so I need to get as much 'training' out of every mile I pedal in Chicago. Ideally, the Bianchi will feel light as a feather and wicked fast after riding these other two bikes around for a while. But before that happens, I need to actually get both of these road-ready. Sunday is going to be a busy, busy, bikey day. In preparation, I shall now go out and drink with my law school friends. D'oh.


At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

I had a similar experience with the hiccup you described. After a bunch of frustrating misdiagnoses, it turned out to be a sticky link in the chain. The trick is to put the bike in the stand and turn the cranks at a moderate to slow pace until you find the culprit link. Then put on some rubber gloves (unless you like greasy hands) and work the link back and forth perpendicular to it's normal direction ov bending, as if you're trying to bend it sideways, until it seems to move freely. Spray it with whatever lube you use, and you should be in good shape.


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