Sunday, August 12, 2007
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 shop....it'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.