Friday, December 14, 2007

The Dreaded Bus

I took the first northbound D (Quivira) Bus this morning, in the interest of not further agitating my lungs. My apartment is almost halfway between the second and third bus stop on the schedule, and it will stop right there in my apartment complex if I am standing on the sidewalk. Basically, I have the option to use this bus door-to-door from home to work and back, but as you can tell, it's ridiculously slow, landing me at my office near the 10th and Main stop almost an hour after picking me up.

I've said it before, but if I'm on my hybrid or road bike, I can actually race the bus to work and beat it by a pretty good margin. That certainly wasn't the plan this morning. I woke up with a tight chest. The wheezing had subsided, though. My usual mantra is "If I'm too sick to ride, I'm too sick to work" however I could have ridden, I just didn't want to make matters any worse.

I brought my bike with me and still did my morning coffee. That netted me about a mile on the bike. If I feel better by the end of the day, I'll probably take one of my two usual bus routes home. If I still feel like I do right now, I'll use the Dreaded bus and get home late.

The headset refurb worked pretty well. I bought two new crown bearings (caged ball bearings) for a grand total of $8. The head tube cups and fork races were a little bit eroded and pitted. I'll probably need to spring for a brand new headset here in the next year. For the time being, I cleaned all of the races up with my dremel and a wire brush attachment, and liberally applied marine-grade boat trailer axle grease into the bearings. Everything went back together nicely. Steering is smooth as glass once again, and the slop I was feeling in my headset (which I couldn't tighten out without binding) is gone. Bike is happy. I am happy. Brand new headsets of higher quality (FSA, for example) are actually priced pretty reasonably, or cheaper than I'd expected. When this $8 fix bites the dust, I won't mind spending $40-$50 or so for something better.

I will say this, though: repairing or replacing a threadless headset is more complicated than doing a ball-bearing bottom bracket, which in its own right isn't a cakewalk. This side of lacing a new wheel, it may be the most laborious repair you can make to a run-of-the-mill bicycle. I'll wait for a pro like CRUM to confirm or deny this.

Even after not riding much this morning, catching almost 45 minutes of sleep on the bus, and having my mocha, I am still tired. I think I'm going to press a fresh, hot cup of black brew and see if I can get some work done today. *Yawn*

Random Tunage:
Steve Porter - Drama Queen
Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone (Jason Nevins Reprise)


Sirrus Rider said...

Or by the time your $8 dies, it might be time for a new bike..

Noah said...

Only if the frame has either cracked or rusted completely through. I'm not a serious off-roader and this is more than enough bike for any singletrack I would want to ride on. As nifty as some of the full suspension 29ers are, I don't really do anything that calls for that.

Although I have bikelust for a 'cross bike, I can't say that it would be a capable replacement for my MTB. My Trek 1200? Maybe, if I got a second wheelset for skinny tires.

Sirrus Rider said...

Keep in mind my garage is a pedal powered parody of the poster of the mansion with the five car garage with the Ferrari 308, Porsche 930 Turbo, Lamborgini Countach, Mecercedes, and Rolls.. LOL

amidnightrider said...

I can only pine for a bus or any type of public transportation to get me anywhere near work.

There used to be one I could pick up three miles from home and it dropped me 10 miles from the office. The early one does not run anymore.

GhostRider said...

What?!? Rebuilding a threadless headset is a piece of cake compared to the finicky adjustment of the older-style threaded, loose-ball headset...and MUCH easier than getting the adjustment right on a traditional cup-and-cone BB.

Noah said...

It wasn't bad, but compare it to changing brake pads, truing a wheel that's a bit out of whack, replacing a chain, or adjusting derailleurs. There's no doubt about it, it requires a lot more disassembly and time than most other things.

You're talking to a guy who's rebuilt everything from a car engine to a spring-powered swiss pocket watch. I've replaced clutches in cars with nothing but floor jacks and hand tools.

I don't think I could honestly consider anything on a bicycle "hard work" but when most things are a quick 5-minute job, building a wheel from a pile of parts, and refurbishing a headset stand apart as things that are going to take some time.

Noah said...

And FYI, I have only adjusted loose-bearing threaded headsets. That's pretty easy. I don't think I'd like to completely rebuild one, though. I'd do it before I shelled out $$$ at the LBS, but I wouldn't like it!

I've never had a problem getting the cone adjustment good on a BB. Both the single-piece-of-crap-crank on the Murray Escort and the BB on Hybridzilla are caged bearings with one fixed cup. The Escort had an adjustable cone on the non-drive side, while the Outlook uses an adjustable pin-wrench cup on the drive side. Neither one gave me any problems at all. I'm thankful for sealed BB cartridges in my Trek 1200 and DB Sorrento though.

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