Monday, May 30, 2005


My voice started coming back over the weekend. It’s been a raspy whisper for two weeks. I slept a lot and that may have helped. But I still can’t shout. Mary, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be improving. She goes to the doctor’s office tomorrow.

Riding to work today was very different since it’s a holiday. There was very little traffic. In fact, the 4-lane arterial at the base of my hill had no cars at 7 AM. None. It was eerie, almost like one of those end-of-the-world movies.

(Which reminds me of something in “28 Days Later”. The protagonist was supposed to be a bike messenger, yet after waking up alone in the hospital and wandering around London, he does all of it on foot. Wouldn’t you think a bike messenger would immediately look for a bike?)

So why am I at work on a holiday? Airlines never sleep. Besides, we have good coffee in the shop. Actually, we lost several holidays in our last negotiation, so here I am.

There was one annoyance while riding to work this morning. Something in the Bianchi is squeaking. I thought it was the baggage rack and I tightened it the last time I used this bike. But it still squeaks. Oddly, it seems to be at the pedal rhythm, yet when I hit a bump, it squeaks then too. I’ll have to lubricate the drivetrain and tighten the pedals, bottom bracket, chainrings, and even the saddle to try to get rid it.

I had another annoying ‘tick-tick’tick’ in the Fall a few years ago. It only happened in the morning. I never heard it in the afternoon. The ticking noise was at pedal rhythm even if I changed gears, but it stopped when I stopped pedaling. This all happened in the pre-dawn darkness, so I couldn’t see the source of the problem. I’d tightened the usual suspects to no avail. Finally, on a cold, blustery afternoon, one of the first that season, I discovered that the noise was coming from the metal zipper pull on my jacket! As I pedaled, it swung in against the metal zipper and made the ticking noise! My upper body bobbed just enough to keep the rhythm going. When I stopped pedaling, the noise stopped too! Aargh!

Yesterday, I started putting my old Schwinn High Sierra back together. I overhauled all the ball bearings, and installed a single chainring up front and a single freewheel in the back. The rear wheel should be re-dished, but I didn’t have the short spacers needed to do that job. I’ll have to go by one of the shops later this week. This bike is going to be my grocery store runner. Eventually, it’ll have a rack that can accommodate two grocery sacks. Since the grocery is only a half-mile away, it’s a quick and easy errand for a bike. In fact, it may actually be a faster trip on the bike.

The front end shudders under braking, though. I think this may be due to brake pad misalignment, because the back ends of the pads are contacting the rim before the front does. But I was running out of time to fool with it last night. I think there are some usable pads in my toolbox/junkbox, so I’ll replace the old ones later today if possible.


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