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Tales from the Log of the Ruptured Duck

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
OK, the Ruptured Duck and his Lady Duckess (not to be confused with a European Duchess) officially opened their 2018 summer bike tours today. It started with a crash.

Our bikes are folding - a regular bike with a hinge in the middle. I prepped the bikes, and made a grevious error. The handle bars on Julie's bike can be rotated 90 degrees so they are parallel with the bike frame. It streamlines storage. Part of prepping is to realign them back at the normal crossways position, and then FULLY TIGHTEN THE LOCKDOWN NUT. Regretfully, I didn't. We rode down to the edge of the road, she applied the front brake, leaned on the handle bars as the bike slowed, and the bars spun out of alignment. DOWN she went. Fortunately, and very remarkably, she was unhurt. Wonders never cease. We chose to walk the bikes across the road.

I was riding to the ATM, barbershop, and library. As we passed the Subway Sandwich Shop (they are a favorite of ours), she opted to pull over and wait for me there. About 45 minutes later, I rejoined.

The little town of Haslett has, at the main four corners, no less than seven restaurants/coffee shops within 250 yards. That's exactly 8 more than were there when I was a kid in high school in nearby (3 miles) Okemos. The intervening 65 years have brought civilization.

Sidenote: if you aren't visiting a Subway every once in a while, you might be missing some very good sandwiches. And, their breakfasts are darned good too.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
You're right. We discussed that too. Two things that trip up a human mind are complacency, and distractions. I let myself fall victim to both of them yesterday.

NOTE: Complacency consists of such components as pride, laziness, over-confidence, etc. All are excuses for not doing what I know darned well should be done.
Distractions are unexpected interruptions that break our train of thought. People, events, dogs, phone calls, etc.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
40
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Another ride to the Haslett area yesterday. Lunch, of course, and then errands. And, I needed a new tank on my CPAP machine.

Sleep apnea disrupts my sleep, so a Constant Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) pump helps to gently push in air, even if I didn't inhale. A small tank of water hydrates the air. The tank had developed a leak, so after lunch, one of my errands was to get a new one. While there, the fellow waiting on me and I got to talking about canoeing and camping.

Julie had headed for the library to read and scan books while I got my errands done. We're regular customers of our local library syatem. If you think about it, an author usually requires several years to write a book. Let's say - three years, just as an example. So, while we're reading that book, we are borrowing information and knowledge from a three year chunk of that person's life. And that person could still be alive - or long gone a couple milleniums ago. Reading is a bountiful source for people. While driving, I always have a book on disk running in my car.

Whilst Julie lounged, I took off for the grocery store. Our saddle bags let us carry lots of stuff. This time, it was a couple gallons of milk, some apples, and sundry items. The bikes are about twice as useful with saddle bags. So, with about 20 pounds of stuff in the bags, the bike doesn't want to sit stably on the kick stand. AARRGGHH!! Now, I headed for the library to recover Julie. We thought to linger over a cuppa coffee and a scone. But, the little bakery had closed at 2:00 o'clock, just like the other local restsurants. Another AARRGGHH!!

On our ride home, we had to pay for the tailwind we'd enjoyed earlier. That's Life, ehh?
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
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80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
NO RASPBERRIES, BUT. . . . .

This morning, the Ruptured Duck and Duckess rode out through local trails, parks, and shopping centers to get some soup fixings. Along the way, there are some black raspberry bushes. It's a bit early for them; the berries are not even red yet. Black raspberries are red when they're green. So, no berries to snack on today.

BUT - we did ride by several families of Canada geese with goslings, two turtles, and other folks enjoying the sunshine and balmy weather. Smiles and waves from the people, and studied indifference from the wild life. Sometimes, though, it's the other way around.

We're not trying to set any records, just ride for enjoyment and exercise. So we warmed a few benches along our way, some in the sun and some in the shade. A couple of fish jumped up in the nearby pond.

With groceries packed into our saddle bags, we started back. A lunch place we'd counted on visiting was found closed! Darn! Well, there's plenty to eat at home in the pantry.. So, off we go to home.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
KEEP'EM ROLLING

In the Air Force, we have a motto of "Keep'em Flying". With bicycles, it's Keep'em Rolling. Some simple maintenance steps serve to help that happen. For years, I turned bikes uoside down to rest on their seat and handlebars. While that still works, it's better to have a maintenance stand.

Walmart has a pretty, darned good one. I bought it for only $55 - including shipping! Since all other similar stands I had seen were $200-$350, I was both happy, and a bit suspicious. But when I unwrapped it, I was happy. This thing is nice. Get the Walmart app, and look up the bicycle maintenance stand.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
KEEP'EM ROLLING

Once you get a maintenance stand use it. Renove one wheel at a time. Loosen up the retainer nuts on the axle, and clean out any old, dirty grease from the wheel bearings. Put in new grease. Reset the tightness of those retainer nuts. NOT TOO TIGHT! And, not too loose.

Turn the inner nuts just finger tight. The axle should turn within the wheel, but should not be loose to shuck eirther up and down, or back and forth. If too tight, you can't hold onto the axle ends if the wheel is spun. If the bearings bind and turn the axle within your fingers, back off the nut 1/8 of a turn. Now, carefully retighten the two outer nuts to lock the inner ones into position. Retest to ensure that bearings are not too tight or too loose. Adjust if necessary. Remount the wheels and secure it in place.

If you could capture the first 100 bikes you see on the road, here's what you would be likely to find:

1. About 90 of the would have soft tires. Carefully read on the side of your tires what the range of tire pressures are, say, 60-65 psi (pounds oer square inch). Whatever the max pressure is, remember it. Better yet, use a magic marker to write it somewhere on the bike. Tire pressure (TP) is important. On my handlebars is written TP 65.

To check the pressure, use a digital tire gsuge. If you have an old fashioned gauge with a metal slide, give it a respectful burial in the nearest trash bin. Go to an automotive parts store or hardware, and spend $10-$15 for a digital gauge. The old one is accurate + - about 3-5 psi. The digital gauges are accurate to within + - 0.1 psi.

2. About 90 would have the seat mal-adjusted. I tie a piece if cord onto the undercarriage of my seat. Let it hang down about 12". More on it later. Now, while sitting on the bike, balls of you feet on the pedals, rotate one pedal to the bottom. Your leg should not be uncomfortably stretched. It should have the knee just barely bent. Adjust the seat up or diwn to get this height. Ride the bike a short distance and make any tiny adjustment needed. Tighten the nut on the collar around the seat post. You are NOT adjusting the seat so you can remain seated, and have one or both feet on the ground. If you have a foot on the ground, your fanny should NOT be on the seat. Period.

While riding, the seat may be uncomfortable because the front of the seat is too high or too low. Carefully loosen the nuts on the seat, but not too loose. The seat will move in small increments, or notches. Try to adjust only one, small notch at a time. Ride the bike, and adjust again if needed.

Now, once the seat is adjusted, stretch that cord down. Where it neets the retaining collar around the seat post, mark the cord. This is your reference point for the future. Tie a small knot an inch or so below your mark, and snip off excess cord.

Enjoy your bike.
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
KEEPING THEM ROLLERS ROLLING


Bike chains a mechanically simple; they have only three (3) components.
1. Side links
2. Pins
3. Rollers


Side links are held together with pins. The pins are actually a specialised rivet. The pins rivet the side links into a rigid, solid structure. The center part of the pin is a highly polished axle. The roller is mounted onto that axle, securely held in between sidelinks. Rollers are the only moving parts of a chain.

Let me repeat that - ROLLERS ARE THE ONLY MOVING PART OF THE CHAIN.

All of the following steps, procedures, and jobs are done with the chain ON the bike. No need to remove it.

As moving parts, rollers require lubrication. There is no reason to lubricate the non-moving parts. Some (all?) of us have heard of boiling a chain in oil. It's a waste of time, oil, and heat. Lube only the joint between the roller and its axle, the pin. That's the only part of a roller chain that moves. In real life, that's a fairly easy job. Messy, but easy.

Another messy - but easy - job is to clean the chain. I bought a handy tool for that job. WWW.Filzer.com has some interesting goodies. The specific one of interest here is a "chain cleaner, item# CC-3". They market the chain cleaner ONLY through WWW.MEC.CA as item# CC-3. For $32. (I believe that is $32 Canadian). I recommend this tool, and I recommend following their directions,

After you have cleaned the chain, wipe it dry. Handsful of paper towels are handy here. If you didn't receive your maintenance stand from Wal-Mart yet, have someone hold the bike while you crank the pedals backwards to run the dirty chain through your paper towels. I like to set the bike with full sunshine on the chain to help it further dry. After a few hours, we're ready to lube.

Some more background first. The best oil to have in there, wrapped around the pin, and in between the pin and roller - is a high viscosity oil. I use 90 weight gear oil. If you can purchase a small container of 90 weight oil (a half a pint will probably last your lifetime) at an auto parts store, use it. If you can't, maybe you can get some 50 weight motor oil. You want heavy oil inside the roller.

All that being said, oil that heavy is next to impossible to get in there. Low viscosity oil, say 5-10 weight DOES easily wick inside the roller-pin joint. So, what we really want sounds next to impossible. But, it isn't. And, no, the answer is not multi-viscosity oil. It's simpler than that.

Get a little, plastic bottle with a dripper end. A perfect one is an empty, clean inhaler bottle. Remove the cap, remove the little plastic tube inside if it has one, and clean out the bottle. Make sure it's clean and dry inside. Fill it half full of heavy oil, and top it off with gasoline. Leave about 1/2" of empty headspace. Exercize due caution. Tighten on the cap, and shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the two fluids. NOW you have a thin, low viscosity fluid that will readily wick inside the roller-pin joint. Then, as the gasoline evaporates, the heavy oil remains behind! Exactly what the chain needs.

Here's how to apply it. Lay some newspapers or paper towels under the chain to catch excess drips. Mark your starting point on the chain with one of those twisty tie things from bread wrappers. That lets you know where to start and stop. Apply one drop to each end of every roller. Remember, the rollers are in between the sidelinks. Do NOT put oil on the outsides sides of sidelinks. Apply oil to the ends of the rollers IN BETWEEN the sidelinks. Go all the way around the chain. Remove the twisty tie. Use a hamdful of paper towels to run the chain through to remove excess oil from the outdide of the chain. Do that several times. Let the bike set for a while, and do it again.

You now have a clean, well lubricated roller chain. Redo these processes at least once a year. If you (1) ride a lot, (2) let rain get onto the chain, (3) see rust or dirt on the chain, (4) see the chsin kinking or hesr it squeaking - re clean and relube. Your bike will take less effort (about 10%) to ride.

Enjoy your bike.
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,741
40
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
After looking at it, and looking around my house, I'll add a hand cleaning brush, or fingernail brush, to my toolkit. A very small pan with a bit of kerosene, or gasoline, to dip the brush into, will help clean off the sprockets etc.
Thank you, Chuck.

Pretty quick, I'll have to dig out the squirrel tails for handlebars!