Sunday, July 18, 2010
I haven't posted anything about medicine in a long time.  I know that's what this blog was originally supposed to be about, but on the rehab unit there was not a whole lot of crazy stuff happening to talk about.  And I start in the emergency department on Monday, so for the next month there will be LOTS to talk about.  I figure I can have at least one more "non doctor" post. 

So I have two bikes, one I talked about Wednesday, and the other I will talk about today.  I've always been afraid to do anything about the simplest maintenance by myself, because I don't want to break anything I can't afford to replace!  I haven't done more than change a tube and break pads on my trek.  But I decided that my Redline needed some maintenance, and I would tackle it myself.  The parts are a bit cheaper to replace and I've gotta start somewhere, right?

I got a new set of wheels for my cyclocross bike, the Neuvation M28X Aeros, because I bent my front wheel backing over it with my car (not recommended).  So I wanted to put the new wheels on, which meant taking the cassette off my old rear wheel.  And I figured while I was doing that, I should replace the chain because putting an old rusty dirty chain on new wheels and a clean cassette just sounded like a bad idea.  I also decided I would finally put my new pedals on.  And the whole bike needed a good cleaning.  So, I went to a local bike shop and picked up a few tools and parts I would need.

Chain whip
Cassette lock-ring tool
8-sp 3/32 chain
Crescent wrench
Set of allen wrenches
Shimano SPD pedals
Chain tool
White Lithium grease
Chain lube
Simply green cleaner

I had a lot of this already, but needed to get the tools and a new chain.  Then I set to work.

I got my bike down and set it on my patio table upside down and popped the wheels off.  Then I used the chain tool to take off the old chain so there wasn't anything in my way while cleaning it.  Then I used some warm water with Simply Green to clean off all the dirt and grime that's collected over many trips through mud. 

After the frame was clean, I went to work cleaning the old wheels and tires, and switching the tires and tubes from the old wheels to new.  About this time, I moved from outside to inside because it got too dark to see anything.

I started to work on getting the cassette off, and realized I didn't have a wrench.  So I headed to Lowes to get a crescent wrench.  I picked one up, then headed to Starbucks to get some iced coffee because it was already 8:30 and I could tell my night was NOT close to over.  When I was at Starbucks, I realized that I'd left my phone at Lowes (a sign that the coffee really was necessary), so I went back to get it, and finally made it home with my wrench and my coffee.

I went to work taking the cassette off and put it in a dilute solution of degreaser to work on loosening all the grime.  While that was brewing, I started taking off the pedals.  Note:  It's helpful to look at the new part you are putting in before you try taking the old one off, so you know how the mechanics of the part work.  I did not do this.  Pedals are threaded oddly because of the rotation of the cranks.  So the right pedal is a right hand thread (normal), but the left is opposite.  I knew this, and in theory would have had no problems if I was using a wrench to take the pedals off.  But I was using an allen wrench instead (which goes in the back of the pedal instead of around the front.  And I spend more time than I will admit here cranking the wrong direction trying to take the pedals off.  At some point, I looked at the new pedals, realized my mistake, and went to work undoing my serious over-tightening of the old pedals.  Eventually they came out, and I was about to put the new ones on when I found out I needed some grease for the threads.  Who knew.  By this point it was after midnight, so I decided to put the hunt for grease off until the morning, and went back to the cassette. 

I took the cassette out of the degreaser and scrubbed it with a toothbrush (it will never see the inside of my mouth again), until all the grime was cleaned off.  Some of the teeth are looking a little worn, so a new cassette is in the future.  But for now, I cleaned it off, and put it on the new wheel.  Then I popped the wheels on, and it started looking like a bike again!

The chain was the next mission.  I took out a pin, put the chain on, and then popped the pin back in.  I cranked the pedals a few times, and noticed it was skipping a bit.  Turns out the link was stiff... So I googled "stiff chain link"  and got all sorts of helpful hints on how to fix the link, all of which failed.  I thought I'd just start all over, and took the pin back out, except I went too far and took it the WHOLE way out instead of just enough to separate the links.  Now I can't get the pin back in... I think that chain is a lost cause.  I'm going to buy a new one today, and put it on when I get home from Atlanta.  Whoops.  At least that was the only casualty of my self-repairing.  Here are some pictures of the process...

Here's the set up, before the process was well underway.

Old, gross, rusty chain.

Old wheels.

New wheels.  Sooo shiny.

Frame: before cleaning.

Frame: after cleaning.

Indoor setup.

Cleaning the cassette.

Pedals:  New and old.  Yes, this is a bad "photograph"  But the glare just proves they are shiny.

Wyatt reading the directions and trying to tell me I was turning the pedals the wrong way.  Shoulda listened.

All in all, I'd say this was a fairly successful adventure.  I learned a lot about my bike, got some confidence in not ruining anything, and started collecting tools for future repairs.  I also added a few more things to the list of repairs I want to continue to make:

New cassette (the old one will go on my old rear tire for a trainer-only tire)
New crank (I've crashed on the old one a couple times and it's seen better days)
New brake pads (riding on a bend wheel for a while created a very odd wear pattern)
New water bottle cages (yellow: to match the bar tape so looks more like an accent color)

I think that will do it for now... this might become a bit of an obsession... 

Until next time,
The bike doctor (in training...)


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


Visitor Count