8 Ball In The Wind

Friday, August 30, 2013

Give Me A Brake!!

After all the craziness that has been going on the past week or two trying to get things ready for the 3 Pass Run, a campout next weekend, and getting things ready to go back to work, it just doesn't seem to be getting any easier.  Things are still in a realm of Taoist equilibrium.  Everything is counterbalanced by its opposite, and the repercussions of their interactions.

What does that all mean?  Don't ask me, my brain is half frazzled after the past few days.  I have been amazed that apparently my angel (or the way I am, maybe an entire squadron of them) is still on the job.  I rode up to see T on Sunday, because he had noticed the amount of extra clutch cable I seemed to have on the bike.  Since his cable was just barely long enough, he asked if I'd be interested in swapping cables.  It made sense to me, so away I went up to his place.  Once I got there, T had his cable stretched out on the ground.  I pulled mine off and he laid them side by side.  They were the same length.  I guess I just didn't need as long a clutch cable as he does.

Well, since it wasn't going to do anything to help him to use my cable, I started to put it back on.  T was holding the handlebar end of the cable as I was fitting the transmission end back into place.  He just happened to look down my front end and noticed something didn't look right.  He reached down and felt my axle nut.  It was not only loose, it was already backed off about a quarter of an inch from the fork leg.  He reached down and tried to spin it with his fingers, and it spun freely and threaded itself a bit closer to being tight again.

Now this is the day after making a 200 mile run up through the mountains and into eastern Washington and back.  I can only imagine what could have happened if it had been say a 300 mile trip.  I think Gypsy and I, and even the wife would have been needing some repair work done.  Gypsy hadn't been handling quite right compared to what she usually did on those snaking mountain two lane cliffside roads.  Now I knew why.  Once I got the clutch cable back on and adjusted, I torqued the nut back onto the axle.  Then, when I got back home, I retorqued it again using a little red loctite.

Well, today, I had to take Gypsy for s short 6 mile round trip run.  Just to go down to the family's recreation lot to  do a couple things to get it ready for some family members who were showing up to camp for the weekend.  I unlocked and opend the garage door, and straddled Gypsy.  As I pulled her up off the kickstand, my foot slipped just a bit, and I gave her a little front brake to keep her from moving.  After letting off the brake I went to roll her back out the door, and she very sluggishly rolled to the point I had to roll up onto the surface of the alley.  Then she didn't move at all.  I could tell the front brake wasn't disengaging, so I pushed her the four or five feet back forward again before dropping her back onto the kickstand.

Grabbing some tools out of the rollaway, I pulled the caliper off the bike.  I actually had to open the bleeder valve before I could get it to come off the rotor.  Checking the pads, I could see they were worn.  But what really caught my eye was the fact that they were worn at an angle.  So I put her up on the lift so the front wheel was well clear of the ground, and checked it out for free rolling and usiing my Mark I eyeball checked it for true.  The wheel rolled fine, and I couldn't see any sign of it being out of kilter.  Even when I looked at it from different angles.

It was obvious that the pads wearing unevenly had caused it to bind, and lock up on the rotor.  Now wouldn't THAT have been fun in the middle of a tight turn up on one of the passes, having the caliper lock up while the axle was loose?  Can we say roadrash?  It was about then that I realized that the axle nut had probably been getting loose for a little while.  At least a week or so, which would explain how the pads wore so unevenly.

Luckily I had another set of pads in the rollaway, still fresh in the box.  I installed them, mounted the caliper, and gave the whell a whirl.  No problem at all.  It rolled just fine, and didn't rub at all.  I bled the brakeline and hit the breaks a few times.  It stopped the wheel, and released EVERY TIME.  So, I went into the house, cleaned my hands, and went for a ride down to the property and back.  I did what I had to do down there, and gave Gypsy a test run at the same time.  Everything ran nice and smooth, and worked the way it should have.

After getting back, I checked over the bike again, and looked for any more loose nuts and bolts.  It had been a couple weeks since the last time I had done it.  Finding the loose axle nut showed it was past needing to be done again.  One of those lessons life reminds you about from time to time.

From what I understand, one of my nieces is coming up with her boyfriend who rides a Shovel.  They want to go for a ride Sunday while they camp at the property.  I wrangle up a couple of my riding partners and take them on a nice couple hour ride in the area.  I can already tell I really need a ride to blow this weeks crap out of my mind, and get me focussed so I can deal with next weeks crap.  Gypsy, and in time Frankenbike are what seem to keep me from going completely asymetrical and out of balance anymore.  Helping keep my yin and yang in balance, and my spirit more or less at peace.  Plus helping to keep a squadron of angels employed as well.  So, I'm looking forward to doing a little just "follow me" run this Sunday.  After this week, it ought to be interesting.  Hopefully not too interesting though.

I'll catch ya on the road sometime...

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