Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shimano Disk Failure

While riding my Santa Cruz, I noticed there seemed to be some play in my rear wheel when I had my brake on. I thought I needed to replace the pads. I got it on the workstand, the pads were fine.

So I started troubleshooting. The metal part of the rear rotor was slipping a little, the rivets connecting the metal disk to the black centerlock were loosening and the play was wearing the rivet holes bigger. Darn. I call Bike Guy, he says to bring the whole bike in.

He calls Shimano, they say they have had a few rotors fail like this, about 3 over the last 5 years. Which isn't bad, when you think of the numbers of rotors they pump out each year. But I just happen to be one of the LUCKY ones. It must have a new rotor. I go to pay for the new rotor, Bike Guy says no charge, Shimano is covering it...WooHoo. It was ready the next day.

Fall is on the way here, the birds are starting to migrate: Sandhill cranes, Canadian Geese, ducks. There were 5 ducks on the bike path on my way to work the other day. Neat to see. The daylight is getting shorter and it is getting dark now. We are losing a bit more than 1/2 of daylight per week. The nights are getting cooler, my morning rides are also. This summer has gone by way too fast.

I won't get to go to the cabin this fall. I'm really bummed about that. There are new, stupid caribou hunting rules in effect this year which is supposed to help lower-income hunters, a person who is drawn for a permit can't use any vehicles over 1500 pounds to take the meat out of the hunting area. This eliminates planes, most boats, swampbuggies, etc. It does not eliminate 4-wheelers.
The idea behind this is a low-income person can't afford to use a plane, boat or other "heavy" vehicle. So most people will get their game out by 4-wheelers.
That's a load of dookie. It costs us $400 a season to hire a bush plane to fly us into our cabin, we have always shared the plane with at least one other person flying out to our area, so we pay only $200 to $300 for the plane ride.

4-wheelers average cost is about $5000. I can afford a flight much easier than a 4-wheeler. So now we have a caribou permit with no way to get the caribou out because it is now against the law to have it flown out with us, because if we can afford a yearly $200-$300 flight, then we must be over-income, but if I make a monthly $250 4-wheeler payment so I can get my caribou out, I must be low-income. Who makes these rules??? We have an old rebuilt 4-wheeler, but it would take about 10 hours of HARD riding through bogs, tundra, muskeg to get to the cabin and it would really be a disaster if it broke down in the wilderness. Rant, Rant, rant.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Week

I have been happily commuting all summer, 8.2 miles each way. It's been different this year due to a lot of construction going on, sidewalks and bike paths are torn out at multiple areas in the town I work in. Finding alternate routes as been interesting at time. I live in a different town, so I load my bike into the back of my truck every morning and drive to a parking lot and ride from there to my office. My ride to my truck in the evenings has better scenery than my ride to the office, in the morning my back is to the mountains and sun. The evening ride I have some beautiful views which always make me happy to be alive and on a bike. Here is a few pictures of my favorite views, they certainly look better in real life.

Last week, I noticed it felt like my bike was trying to ghost shift or maybe a stiff link. Last Sunday I put the K2 on the bike stand. It was soon obvious that there was no problem with the chain, cables or derailleur. I could hear sort of a ping or popping noise on the drive side as the wheel rotated. Darn. So I took apart the rear hub. I immediately noticed that the normally blu grease that Ritchey hubs normally have, was absent, replaced instead with watery, rusty looking grime instead on the drive side. After cleaning the bearings and races, found them all toasted. All bearings are pitted, some are cracked and look like chunks missing. The races in the cup is also pitted, worn and cracked in a few places. The non-drive side is in almost perfect condition. Damn. So I hop in my truck and head to the bike shop, knowing I will have to purchase a whole new wheel if I want to keep commuting the following week but secretly hoping Bike Guy can rebuild the wheel with a new hub IMMEDIATELY, like my situation is critical ya know? I really do know this is unrealistic but the little spark of hope is there. I get to the's closed. Turns out, for the very 1st time in my history since going there, Bike Guy has decided to close down on Sundays. Good for him and his family, Shit for me. I go back home, frantic about what to do. I start calling bike shops in Anchorage, the only place that will still be open by the time I drive an hour+ is REI. Rush to Anchorage, get the wheel -which was an adventure of it's own- rush home, spend a fricken LONG and DIFFICULT time getting the cassette off the freehub. Get everything installed on the new wheel and the bike back together and ready to ride the next day, fall into bed very late and tired. But the bike is good to go and working great. I had Bike Guy check out the Ritchey hub yesterday, he said it will cost as much for a new hub and rebuild as it does for a new wheel. The other option is to ride it until the hub actually fractures. Hmm..I don't think I like that idea.

Thursday after I got home, everyone decided to go fishing down at the river behind my house RIGHT NOW! I hadn't had time to eat and wasn't ready to eat yet anyway. Capt'n Balance, the Bike Boys and Computer Guy had everything packed up on the 4 wheeler and ready to go, all I had to do was change. So we did a tequila shot (not the boys-duh) with lime and off we went.

It was one of those PERFECT Alaskan summer evenings. These nights are indescribable, one has to experience it. Perfect temperatures, sun still shining although getting lower on the horizon this time of year, no bugs, beautiful mountains, water, flowers, wilderness, fresh air, moose tracks in the mud, snowshoe rabbits running across the trail...perfection.

By the time we got to the fishing spot, about 40 minutes later, I was starving. I scarfed down the spicy chicken with ranch sauce, washed it down with water and Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale and started fishing. The rivers are full of a lot of dog salmon, turning into the scary monsters for spawning and then rotting. There are also Reds and Silvers running. I caught a dog salmon, we didn't catch any reds or silvers and too soon it was time to head back. My nephew, Bike Boy 2, and Computer Guy stayed longer and came home with a red and a silver. Even though we had no fish to bring home, it was a glorious evening.

Now it is an overcast Sunday afternoon, I'm overhauling the front hub from my K2 commuter, it looks like the grease was a little corroded in there also. Just in time, I don't want to buy another new wheel.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I was tagged twice last week by A Midnight Rider and Karen of Travelin with/against the Wind. So here is a few random facts about me:

1) I was given a car the other day: 1969 Datsun 2000 Roadster convertible with a hardtop and soft top. Sweet! Needs some work but it's pretty nice. Took it for a spin last night, the brakes whet out heading into a 90 degree corner. I was ready to eject but the hand brake worked! :)

3) I HATE LIMA BEANS and canned BEETS! Lima beans have the same taste and texture of the old Elmer's paste, beets (at least canned beets) taste and smell like Play-Dough. Both of these turn my stomach. Yuck. I also don't like shredded coconut, it can't really be chewed, just swallowed and it seems to hang around in the mouth for awhile. When I was a kid, my mom would occasionally buy those gross Hostess Snowballs, pink or white shredded coconut covered marshmallow, chocolate cake confections. My brothers would tell me the coconut was dried worms. I think that stuck in my subconscious. I won't eat anything with shredded coconut. I do, however, like coconut smell and taste, just not the texture of shredded coconut. As for Lima beans and beets, you may wonder how I know they taste like old Elmer's paste and Play dough? Lets just say I was a "sensory" kind of kid.

3) I used to be deaf. I had surgery to restore my hearing about 5 and 6 years ago, 1 ear at a time. I started losing my hearing after the birth of Bike Boy, in 1991 from a genetic condition called Otosclerosis. Going deaf really sucks, especially here in Alaska where the doctors just don't have a clue or at too egotistic to care about patients getting the best care. When I got the news I was going deaf, I asked my doctor if there was anything that could be done, he said "no", just hearing aids. So I went progressively deaf for the next 9 years, spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids, dropped out of my social activities and avoiding friendships because I couldn't participate in a 2 way conversation anymore. I became pretty much of a loner. I was at my audiologist, getting yet another pair of more powerful hearing aids and was really bummed, I was functionally deaf by this time, when my audiologist - a fairly young girl from out of Alaska, full of the latest technology and teaching- told me "off the record" that I didn't need to go deaf and could actually have my hearing restored. She told me there is surgery to fix my condition and gave me the website of the House Ear Clinic in East L.A. Went down deaf, came back hearing. I also met some pretty amazing people while I was in L.A. for the surgeries; A brother and sister in their 40's who were born totally deaf, both got cochlear implants at the same time and were learning how to hear, a man who had fatal tumors in his hearing organs so they were all removed, he then had a brain stem implant at the House Ear Clinic and was also learning how to hear, his brain interpreting the sounds that were being directly sent to a part of his brain...additional amazing people and situations and the House Ear Clinic does amazing things. Life changing stuff.

4) I love rocks, always have. Where I grew up, there was lots of undeveloped land. I would get a kitchen spoon and go across the street and start digging holes, looking for the prettiest rock. I would spit on the rocks to see the colors, if it was pretty, in my pocket it went. When I ran out of spit, I would lick the rocks. When my pockets were full, I was stagger home with my treasures, go into the downstairs bathroom, fill the sink with water, then lovingly wash each of my rocks. I would line them up on top of the clothes dryer while they dried. I was always soo disappointed that they turned into dull, gray looking rocks again when they dried, so I started leaving them in the sink of water so they would say pretty. My mom would get mad at me sometimes for making such a mess: I didn't realize my clothing was totally coated with dirt, my shoes full of dirt, my face streaked with dirt, mud and spit, my hair (long and usually in braids), all dirty, in my mouth half the time and pretty ratty. Muddy hand prints everywhere, dirt from the front door to the bathroom, the bathroom floor covered with mud from the dirt and water. My mom tells me sometimes I had so many rocks in my pockets my pants would be falling off and I would constantly pulling them up. Then I would gather my rocks, get a hammer and proceed to smash them looking for geodes or whatever was inside. I remember getting a rock chip in my eye once. It hurt for days. I didn't tell my mom. She still doesn't know. Now I use clear coat instead of spit to keep my rocks pretty!

5) I don't really like chocolate. I will eat it if it has nuts or caramel, but not plain.

6) I don't really like the color red. Some reds are ok, but am not drawn to red.

7) My favorite perfume is Be Delicious by Donna Karan, it smells fruity, like sweet apples. I like fruity smells, my favorite shampoo is call Fruit Cocktail, it really smells GOOD!

8) I love to sing, but no one else loves for me to sing - HA! So now I only sing when I'm riding my bike or driving in my truck alone. Capt'n Balance thinks I'm in trouble sometimes when we are riding out bikes and I'm singing. He can't tell if I'm complaining or groaning or whatever. That is not a complement.

That was a lot of work. Whom should I tag??? I don't know. If you want to be tagged, let me know in the comments or I might just tag you randomly!!! I want to tag Ned Overend and Floyd Landis but I don't think they will play.

It's raining and Saturday night. I need to change the cables, brake shoes and add the front fender on my commuter bike. It's ghost shifting lately, the rear shoes are really worn and it's pretty wet out lately. I also need to put the new 50/50 pedals, replace the brake pads and maybe bleed the brakes on my Santa Cruz. My wheels are moving about 1/4 inch when I have the brakes squeezed tight. That wasn't happening before.

I have a little bottle of Patron tequila that I bought myself for my 40th birthday that I haven't opened yet. I think tonight will be a good night to open it. Just me and my dog, tequila with lime, the rain, the music, working on my bikes. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night!