I got into the office early this morning so I could perform some preseason maintenance on my beloved Trek. On the menu was complete degreasing and cleaning of the drivetrain to make way for a new chain lube that I picked up last night, the replacement of the rear wheel tube that had developed a slow leak last weekend and the reversal of my front tire due to an egregious rookie error (more on that later). The reason for the maintenance day is tomorrow’s weather report. Sunny early, high of 51-53 (F) with a chance of evening showers…daddy’s going for a ride at lunch tomorrow and I’m fired UP!
My cleaning regimen for the drivetrain is a little more meticulous than it probably has to be, I like to see the cassette sparkle and I pay a fair amount of attention to getting any gunk off of the chain, rear derailleur guide rings and chain rings as well. After all, it does no good to clean the chain if the drivetrain is a mess and promptly deposits crud back onto the chain. I also decided on a new lube for the road bike because frankly, I’ve grown tired of lubing my chain once a week with the spray and I really want to treat this bike as well as is practicable. Replacement components are extremely expensive. For example, a replacement chain goes for upwards of $60 which is a lot of cheddar when you consider a standard chain runs around $20. So, I’ve got it degreased and drying. The lube I’ll be trying, Boeshield’s T-9 was recommended by the estimable Walter at Assenmacher’s, has gotten very good reviews. It’s a touch more labor intensive, but if I can get 150 miles out of a lube, I’ll be happy (they claim 200).
Next was the replacement of the rear tube for the slow leak – before you scroll down to the comments section, the replacement (rather than a patch) was necessary. The tube I had in there had a shorter stem, my wheels require the 48mm stem so I had to replace it before the season anyway, it might as well have been today. I also had to reverse the front tire as that one will be staying on the bike for the season and I missed an important little tidbit when I put in on in the first place… So noobs, pay attention (so you don’t do what I did): When putting a new tire on a rim, you will be looking at the bottom of the tire…that means the pattern will be opposite when you flip it over. In other words, when you’re on the bike and you want the tread pattern to look like this: >>>>>, when you’re putting the tire on the rim and you’re looking at the bottom of the tire you should be putting it on like this <<<<<<. I’ve taken a couple of photos of mine to illustrate because this confounded me for a minute. This first photo is with my bike right side up, you can see that the V that makes up the minimal tread is pointing forward:
The “V” is pointing toward the back of the bike. Now people who have more experience than I do will be chuckling by now, and that’s ok… I missed it so I’m passing on my error in the hopes that it might help someone else. I wouldn’t have bothered pointing this out had I not screwed it up again this morning.
Finally, I’ve got a tip for inflating tires… Sounds silly enough, but let me get through this first. I have one pump, a Serfas frame mount that has its own pressure gauge. I bought this particular pump because it’s got a small hose rather than a solid body so that makes for easier pumping because I can use the ground for leverage. Also, I won’t be jamming my presta valve against the rim while trying to get to the 120 pound minimum pressure in my tires which would be near impossible anyway for anyone but a body builder. Also, I didn’t go with the CO2 pump for a number of reasons, not limited to a limited availability of pressure (90 lbs max on a canister) and cost. Also, I’ll be able to claim superiority with the tree huggers (that’s a joke). The trick is to use this pump like a floor pump, standing over it as one would a full-sized floor pump. I can crouch down and get up to 100 easy enough but to get to 120, I’ve got to stand over it and get my whole body into it. There just isn’t enough leverage otherwise. One hand on the left and one on the nub on the right. In any event, here’s to finally having a few days that won’t be miserable to ride in. I can’t wait to get out of this office.