It has been a while. MMT has been decompressing from an awful AFL season, work, 2 weeks of non-COVID respiratory illness and child induced deprivation. Much to his surprise he’s discovered that nearly 2 months has passed since his last blog entry. It really does seem such a long, long time ago. In that time, the La Vuelta, Olympics, UCI World Championships and….finally an actual Paris-Roubaix with rain and mud, have occurred. MMT will spend some mulling that over in a future blog.
However what is really on MMT’s mind is bicycle maintenance, bike shops, Shimano parts and COVID…again. MMT took his beloved Trek Domane SLR 6 in for a service, after an irritating creaking noise started a 3 month old replacement bottom bracket. MMT figured that some crud had flicked up off the road and strategically landed in the bearings. Sadly this turned out to be worn out crankset that simply wasn’t sitting on the bearings correctly. Mine you it took MMT to chase up the said bike shop to find that out.
Whilst chasing up bike shops to do their jobs, isn’t a new experience for MMT, being told that he had no hope in the short term of replacing the Shimano Ultegra 50-34t with similar model. Shimano has no available parts in Australia and there was no indication when they would be come available. Surprise!!! its been seriously impacted by COVID. A quick Google seemed to confirm that no one local seemed to have them either. Instead the said bike offered a silver Durace 53-39t….WTF. The good news is that crank is $400 and could be resold, the bad news is that it doesn’t match the rest of the group set in brand or colour and will be an absolute bitch to pedal up hill….sigh.
So with had recent experience MMT returned to the solace of the wonderful cycling cartoonist Dave Walker. Here’s what Dave drew that exactly capture the ripped off feeling MMT has.
MMT seems to be practising acceptance in lieu of the alternative which means putting the Domane up on a rack in the garage until parts become available. Levels of fury indeed.
MMT had a dreadful trip to his friendly neighbourhood bike shop, Good Bikes’ last week. MMT’s venerable Wilier was making a few awful noises from the vicinity of the bottom bracket. May be it needed replacing as it had been ridden on for nearly six years. Similarly the left pedal was behaving very weirdly under power. All in all, it seemed high time for a service.
So MMT rode his Wilier to work and dropped the bike off. A few minutes of explanation ensured. The mechanic, Nathan, was advised to ring me if the price of repairs was exceeding $300. Nathan called MMT a few hours later and his news left MMT aghast. Apparently the rear rim was showing signs of cracking and needed replacing…..crap….Keep in mind that these were the $800 Campagnolo Zondas, bought just over 2 and half years ago.
Fortunately, MMT had kept the original Fulcrum rims. MMT had spent a frustrating Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, fitting spoke reflectors and had intended to use these as his winter wheels. So the Wilier stayed at the shop, until the old rims were retrieved and fitted. Nathan showed MMT the cracks and MMT was horrified at what he saw.
MMT reckons he’s done about 15,000km on these rims and can’t believe how these stress fractures have occurred. For starters, they are all on non-cassette side of the rim. One of them has cracked clean through, with clear daylight visible. MMT can only shudder at the thought of what may have happened had the spokes given way entirely.
Not much seems to be going right for Team Sky’s Richie Porte at the Giro. He has been docked two minutes by the race jury after he received an illegal wheel change from Orica-GreenEdge‘s Simon Clarke following his puncture in the closing kilometres of stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia. Porte punctured with seven kilometres remaining and lost 47 seconds to the main peloton, despite the wheel offered by Clarke and the assistance later provided by GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews during the chase effort. Man doesn’t that suck. I wonder would that have happened between Aru and some other Italian rider?
Also is it my imagination or is Orica-GreenEdge giving him more help than his own team?….AND WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SKY RIDER IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO DOING?? Given that he’s out of contract at the end of this year, are GreenEdge sending not so subtle messages about which team he should ride for next year. Time will tell.
Given Richie’s faux pas, it triggered some thinking on my part about what else he could have done to effect an emergency repair and then in general about emergency repairs.
Here’s my bumper list of emergency repairs you could do by the side of the road:
No tyre patches…no problem. Wrap strong paper, plastic sheeting around the tube inside the tyre. Wrapping tape around the tyre with tape or part of an old inner tube may help. Remember to disable the brakes or remove the brake blocks, otherwise the tyre won’t spin freely.
No Spare Tubes
You’ll love this. Tie a knot in the tyre on the hole. You may be able to inflate the tyre hard enough to be able to ride. Plan B is stuff the tyre with lots of grass and spare filling such as paper. This is hard to do and it may be more time effective to walk to help.
I wish has known this a few months ago….if you break the rear derailleur, shorten the chain and remove or bypass the gears. This will result in a single speed bike. Riding will always be quicker than walking.
Snapped Gear Cable
Thank God I’ve never had this happen…screw down the ‘high adjuster’ screw on the gear mechanism, so that the chain is one of the middle sprockets. You should be able to keep going , especially if the front derailleur is still working. If the front cable breaks, repeat the fix and put the chain on to the smaller chain ring.
I didn’t even know that this could happen…however, use zip-tie to secure the sprockets to the spokes of the back wheel. Be really careful as you are now riding a fixed wheel track bike. Be very careful applying the brakes. Provided you are careful, there’s a really good chance you’ll make to assistance.
Cracked frames or forks
Again if they are carbon or aluminium forget it…if its steel or titanium based you’ve got half a chance of bending it back into shape. If you cracks in your frame, again gaffer tape and strong pieces of wood may be enough to hold the frame together long enough to reach assistance.
Hopefully it goes without saying this won’t work with carbon wheels. Emergency straightening can be carried out by standing on them or leaning on them against a gutter or manhole. You’ll have to disable the brakes. Toss the rim when you get home.
Broken Seat Post
2 fixes that you might be able to try, depending on where the break is on the post. The most obvious action…drop the seat post until decent portion is in the seat tube, uncomfortable but doable. Second, find a piece of wood or tree branch that can be jammed into the two halves. Brace the saddle to the top tube or seat stays by using gaffer tape or straps.
It’s official I’m still waiting on my Villier, that’s in the workshop at Freedom Machine, waiting for that pesky Campagnolo rear derailleur. For whatever reason, this part seems to be very difficult to track down. It has been two weeks and I’m becoming very twitchy. I assume it is some type of withdrawal symptom. Which brings me to the major moral dilemma of my cycling life, whether to succumb to the forbidden fruit of the shop demo bike.
Trek Domane S5.2, demo bike care of Freedom Machine
It was the second time I was offered the demo bike. What didn’t realise was that it was serious roadbike, well over twice the cost of my Villier. OMG what a bike. It’s a matt black 2013 Trek Domane 5.2 and it is beautiful. It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden a full carbon fibre framed bike. At first it’s a bit weird as its very light and super responsive in steering and acceleration.
However the bike that was designed for Fabian Cancellara and the classics doesn’t disappoint. Its absolutely true that the bike soaks up the lumps and bumps on the road. There is almost no vibration coming into the handle bars. It’s also much kinder on my back as the riding position is a bit more upright, as you would expect in an endurance focused bike. I now understand all the fuss over the Shimano Ultegra. The gear shifting was faultless.
The 38km I did on it today was relatively effortless and in word… smooth. So does this mean I’m now cheating on my Villier and fallen for a high spec Trek? More importantly how do I scrape together $4000 to by one?
Until next time.
PS Before I forget I’ve completed 697km in 6 weeks, which means I’m 14% of my 5000km goal.