Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Our first real storm system of the season rolled through last night. It didn't do a whole lot in my neck of the woods, except cause some pretty good straight-line gusts. Further north and off to the southwest (Lincoln/Omaha Nebraska and near Wichita, Kansas), there were some tornadoes. Fast clouds looked ominous as the sun set. The below animation (once it's loaded) plays at about 3x the speed that it was photographed, but the low clouds were still moving at a really good clip.

A reader-turned friend of mine, Sally (a.k.a. Sallymander) scored an older Specialized Crossroads Cruz that was being thrown out. I'll use her picture of the bike since I haven't taken one yet:

I offered to fix it up for her, and it needs quite a bit of work. The previous owner was apparently riding it when the rear tire blew out. The inner tube caught the rear brake pad, which then pulled the inner-tube and stretched it as it wrapped around the gear cluster, grinding the rim against the pavement and to a halt. From what we can tell (a destroyed handlebar grip, pavement-ground rim and badly scuffed pedal), the resulting wipeout must have been quite spectacular. The frame, front wheel and all the drivetrain components are still in great shape. Although barely worn down, the brakes might be hardened and brittle, though. I need to check.

Given the sprocket, chain, and brake wear I'm seeing, it looks like this bike maybe had 100-200 miles put on it and otherwise spent most of its time hanging upside-down in a garage. It reminds me a lot of Hybridzilla: a lightly used bike with a ton of potential. Scoping around, it appears to be from the 1995 model year.

I ordered the new tires for it last night (Forte Gotham city tires) and swung by JR's shop to see what we can do about replacing the damaged rear wheel. It's a bit of an odd beast: 6-speed freewheel, 700c. Once upon a time, this was a popular setup. I believe Karen's yellow bike is configured the same way. These days, you don't see many 700c wheels threaded for a freewheel cluster. While a modern freehub wheel would fit in the dropouts nicely, you can't find 6-speed cassettes and the spacing is wrong for the indexed grip-shifters on this bike. JR has a bunch of good, used wheels, so we'll find a solid one to fit the bill for this repair. I brought the old wheel with me to work this morning so JR can wrench on it, since I don't have (or need) freewheel tools. We'll keep the OEM freewheel cluster since it's still in good shape.

Work's all fine. I just got the Ward Cleaver speech. "Okay, Beav. What did we learn from this?"

Boots is still missing, though. If he's still okay, I hope he had somewhere warm and dry to stay during the storms last night.


Sirrus Rider said...

Sally made quite a score! A steel hybrid is quite a find. I'm not surprised that it's a six speed. Hybrids in the day were look on as entry level and used older technology.

Anonymous said...

We've had similar weather down here in Austin. Thankfully it's only looked bad, we haven't had any rain. Wind on the other hand... I was literally nearly blown from my bike pedaling home yesterday.

Jon said...

Replacing the rim, rather than the whole wheel, might be the way to go. If you don't find a replacement, let me know, and I'll see what I have lying about.

Antennaguy said...

My wife, Gayle, and I went out tornado spotting for the local (Lincoln) ham radio club last night. We didn't see any funnels but several of our friends saw the results of one. I also have a Specialized Crossroads Cruz from the 90's. Nice bike.

sallymander said...

I wish I had thought to take a picture before I unwrapped the tube. It was seriously tight around that gear cluster.

Jon, thanks for offering your help with my bike.

I probably won't ever be a commuter, especially since I work from home, but I am looking forward to many weekend rides and errand runs.

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