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Bike Riding And Repair


I have a couple nice bikes. But I wanted something that I could ride to the store, or to the community center to go swimming, and that I could lock it up out front, and not worry too much about it being stolen. I don’t trust leaving my tri bike cabled to a bike rack!

I had been watching Craigslist and saw a guy had a couple 10 speed bikes for sale. At least one was pictured and was a Raleigh, and he wanted $50. He said he had another that needed a tune up and wanted $25. I emailed the guy in the morning asking about frame sizes and asking if I could come over after work.
When I got home from work, I hadn’t heard from the guy, so I was getting ready to go out for a bike ride on my tri-bike. I was all dressed and getting to heard out the door when I noticed I got an email from the guy. He didn’t know frame sizes, but was available til 7:30 that night or the next morning. I had to work in the morning, so that was out. I emailed the guy and told him I could come over now, and gave my phone number. He called me, and gave me an address. I changed out of my bike clothes, threw my bike rack in the trunk, and grabbed a few tools and a tape measure.
When I got there, I looked at the bikes, both Raleighs. I measured the frames. Unfortunately, the $25 bike was too small for me. But the $50 bike was about the perfect size. It was a Raleigh Reliant. I checked it out top to bottom. Everything looked okay. It was actually pretty clean. The tires were a little soft having be pumped up with a frame pump. But the bike rode well.
I asked if he could come down a little bit, but no. So I bought it for $50. The bike was made in Taiwan, so probably a low end bike. I checked out the serial # under the bottom bracket which started with “M03-80-“. I think the M is for Malaysia. I think the rest means it was made in March of 1980. The frame is steel, and the wheels are 27 inch. I am going to leave the reflectors on as I might ride it at night, though I would get some lights. I will probably clean up the drivetrain, but not clean up the frame much. I did take off the kickstand. There is foam on the handlebars. I am debating about leaving it on, or wrapping them with tape. Basically, I WANT the bike to look like an old worthless bike (that wont get stolen), but I want a decent solid ride.

Oh, and I might put pedals on with toe cages.
Raleigh Reliant

So hopefully I can get some extra miles in while running errands, or going swimming.

I had my bike fitting done a couple months ago. I was told to make a follow-up appointment in about 8 weeks. The fitting process was not what I had thought. The guy who was recommended basically had me spin on the bike, changed out the stem for a shorter one, moved the seat back, and lower it slightly. There were no protractors, plum bobs, power meters or anything like that. He didn’t even measure me or anything. Just him eyeballing me. And it seemed like he wanted to pawn me off on one of the other guys anyway. Maybe because I wasn’t on a $5000 carbon fiber bike?

So I made the follow-up appointment since I had already paid for it. I had done some riding, but the longest ride I had done was about 53 miles, and the rest much shorter. I told the guy that I have been trying to get used to being down on the aero bars, but just felt scrunched. More so than before. BTW, this was not the guy who was recommended and did my fitting before, but they guy he was trying to pawn me off on. I spun for him. He ended up swapping out the stem for one that was shorter and angled up more. He seemed to want to move my seat back farther, but it was as far back as it would go. I asked if the bike was the wrong size for me, and he said no. With the aero bars a little higher, I spun and felt slightly more comfortable in the aero position. I took the bike around the block, but have yet to go out for a decent ride. Maybe tonight.

Overall, I was not very impressed by the whole fitting thing. Maybe a different shop would have been better? If I ever get another fitting, I will ask them ahead of time what all they do. I think I saw a fitting being done at another shop, and I think they were taking power measurements, and stuff. Not just eyeballing the guy and saying he looks good. I doubt I will do much business in that shop. I just get kind of a boutique feel from it. I will stick with the shop closer to my house. The people there seem to be much friendlier. Not sure if they do fittings or how.

I did a 30 mile bike ride today. I rode about 14.3 miles up to downtown Rochester and said hi to my aikido friends. Many of the roads there sucked for bike riding since there is no shoulder, and big drainage grates and pot holes and stuff…
On the way home I stopped at BK for a quick lunch. I stopped at a couple bike shops hoping to get a second spare tube for my bike. But they weren’t open, at least not yet. One of them was supposed to open at noon, but I didn’t want to wait.

About 5 miles from home I saw a carriage on the side walk. As I passed it, there wasn’t a horse, but a bike. It was sort of a bike/carriage thing. Like a bicycle rickshaw. There was a guy on the ground looking at it, and a woman and some kids hanging out nearby. I stopped turned around and went back. I asked if everything was okay, if he had just dropped a chain or something. Apparently the chain had come out of the cage near the tension pulley (it was on the outside of the little tab designed to keep it in the cage). He didn’t knwo how it happened or how to get it back in. I told him don’t worry, I have tools. I pulled out my park tool kit. I removed the tension pulley, and separated the cage to let the chain back in. I replaced the tension pulley, and tightened the screw. I told him he should be set to go. He got on the bike, pedalled a few strokes, and it seemed to work. I put my tools away, got back on my bike, and headed home. I just hope someone stops to help me if I am ever in trouble. I think most cyclists will though. But it’s nice to have a little bike karma in the bank (not that I haven’t stopped to check on/help other cyclists before). But still…

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