The godforsaken rodent, Punxsatawney Phil, was about as wrong as you get when he predicted an early end to winter this year. We’re about to head straight into the freezer with record low temps for the better part of the next week and we’ve been below normal for the last two already. Usually we’ve had our first couple of decent rides outdoors by now, but not this year… and I’m feeling a little caged up.
There’s only one thing to do when the bug starts creeping up on me like this; I tinker with my bikes. I figure it’s my last chance to tweak everything before the cycling season starts in earnest and I’ll be more worried about getting the wheels on the road than anything else – besides, there’s no better place to get everything dialed in than on the trainer where you can feel everything with minimal distraction.
First up was the Trek. There’s a little hitch in the shifting of the rear derailleur – a problem notorious in Shimano’s 10 speed shifting – that I had to get figured out. The shifter cable has to move flawlessly throughout the system in order to shift right. Any drag, for any reason, and you end up with a rear derailleur that’s hard to dial in. I thought maybe it would be beneficial to route the shifting cables to the bottom of the bar rather than the front and back. I also decided to give the tape holding the housing to the handlebar a little slack (this shouldn’t have mattered, I didn’t have the tape all that tight in the first place, but you never know). Something worked because whatever I did, it fixed the problem. I was able to dial in the derailleur easily with a little slack either way.
I worked on the final tweaks on the Trek’s saddle as well, whilst putting in yesterday’s 45 minutes. I’d done most of the work on Friday, but the final test is done using a special pair of Gore bibs with a thin, but impressive, chamois. Put simply (and vaguely), riding on a minimalist saddle in those bibs, you know when you’ve got the saddle dialed in properly. As is the case with all saddles, I get the fore/aft position first. Then I adjust the height to 36-3/8″ on the nose. Then I tinker with the nose angle until I don’t have any pressure when I ride down in the drops… and I ride there for a full session. The next step, the one I messed with yesterday, is to finalize the height adjustment. I like to be about 1 mm below where I feel pressure from the saddle. This is the finickiest of adjustments and can only be done after everything else is taken care of. If I try this first, none of the other adjustments work out right.
With the trainer ride out of the way, and it being Mrs. Bgddy’s birthday, I cleaned up her good bike for her – and not just a wipe-down, I gave it the full attention. Wheels, tires, between the spokes on the wheels, the hubs, bar tape, derailleurs… the whole nine yards.
With that done, I turned my attention to my Venge. I wiped it down, just to remove the little bit of dust that had settled over it during the winter in the bike room. That only took about ten minutes, but I noticed that there was a little bit of salt buildup around the spot where the rear brake cable exits the frame. If that sweat collection point is left unattended to, the corrosion to the cable and screw can be horrible, requiring new parts. I couldn’t believe I missed that from when I readied the bike for winter last November…. I loosened the brake cable and got to work. Cleaned and lubed the screw, cleaned the affected area on the bike, then put everything back together and re-set the brake.
And now I’m really ready for the season to start. If I can only get through this week… it looks as though a warm up might be on the distant horizon.