Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Peace Amidst Tension

This morning I got up and immediately threw on some dirty clothes. I lumbered downstairs – walking is clearly an “awake” activity – and out to the garage and my bike for a bit of early-morning tweaking. I’d noticed a rapping sound when decelerating that I surmised was a loose chain hitting the chain guide; a quick visual inspection showed about a couple inches of play, about one inch too much.  A quick adjustment on the chain tensioners and I’d be done.

I reread the notes in the shop manual, just to to be sure, and got out the tools. Loosen the axle nuts, loosen the double-nuts on the threaded tensioner shaft, tighten left side a half-turn at a time until tension is right. Rotate chain, verify measurement. Dupe on right side, lock double-nuts, ensure wheel is straight, and torque back axle nuts. How hard could that be?

Until I got to the right tensioner (4) and tried to loosen the larger of the two nuts on the right side (14, not 21), still a bit sleepy. A quick twist of the wrench… and the shaft broke off right at the end cap (6). Drat. No way to cobble up this one. So it looks like I drive the car today.

I took a half-hour drive to the nearest cycle parts place – to find that the store location (of their two) that I was at only carried 4-wheeler parts. Another half hour to their other location, to find that the part would have to be ordered. 5 days. And it’s just over $20 for a little part. Ridiculous. I wish I had $40 so I could order two, for next time. On the wish list it goes. So now I’m stuck without a ride for few days.

This is actually a good thing, as I wanted to deal with the dirty chain anyhow. I bought some degreaser and lube the other day, so I’m going to take the chain off and soak it, clean it real well and lube it before I put the new tensioner on. Something good to do while I’m waiting.

Wouldn’t be a problem for most riders, who only go out on the weekends, I suppose. For us commuters, it’s a big interruption. All in stride, though, it’s an opportunity to get more “intimate” with the bike while I wait. I’m discovering that while a bike and car might require similar amounts of maintenance, the former is more likely to involve a wrench, the latter a checkbook.


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