Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chain installation success!

I took the SRAM chain to the bike shop just to be sure I was correct about shortening it.  They took the links off that I needed.  After thinking about how to weave it through the rear derailleur, I got it threaded on the bike.  I used the powerlinks provided to attach the chain together.   Success!  This is the first time that I've ever changed a chain.  I have been reading reviews at MEC.ca and they say that SRAM chains break easily.  KMC chains seem to be better and are cheaper!  Time will tell.

I had to also adjust the back brakes as one side wasn't moving and was sticking on the back rim.  I found the tiny screw on the side after watching a video about it and loosened one side a little.  The other side started moving!  After adjustment, both brakes  were working great and I took it outside for a ride.

Besides just looking at the like new parts, I could tell by riding that it hardly has been used.  All the gears changed smoothly.  Whew!  Oh, and the chain doesn't seem to freeze and cease to work unlike the Rocky Mtn.  and I will be surprised to get a flat tire as easily.  Better grip for snow too.

Next month, when I save a little bit, I'll get a rear rack and fenders.  Unlike my Rocky Mountain bicycle, it doesn't have bolts on frame for rack support, so it'll need to be clamped to seatpost, but I have read that racks come with that part so it works for all bikes.  And next season I'll get some Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires, perhaps front first as they are expensive.   I've really enjoyed using my time off from work to learn something new!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Learning something new

Today I bought a SRAM chain, a chain tool, and some thicker lube (so I can prevent getting frozen chain links like I had on my Rocky Mtn.)

Easy to use chain tool to move the pin out.  But not all the way!

This is the first time that I've ever changed a chain!  What I found for taking it off, it was so easy!  Why have I never tried it before?

I've measured it against the new chain.  I am pretty sure the chain hardly has been used despite being so rusty, so I am not worried about chain stretch.  The new chain is about 2 chain links too big compared to the one from the bike, as I expected.  I've have read that they are usually that way so that they can accommodate different bikes.  How do I remove the links on a SRAM chain?  I know on ordinary chains you just use chain tool to remove pins, do I do that the same with a SRAM chain?   That easy?  It looks like I'd have to have it slightly bigger to accommodate the 2 powerlinks.  I might just take both chains to shop and get them to shorten..and show me.  I don't want to wreck the chain on the first try, although I do know not to remove pins all the way.  Mind you, must I completely remove both the pin and links from the section I want removed?

New chain is a link or so too big.  Need to remove slack.

Yeh, I might take to shop..they said they'd help if I had any questions.  But I've already learned something new today!  I think it was worth getting this cheap bike...not so scared to play with it.  And I suppose with possibly doing a long distance tour this Summer, a chain link tool and knowledge is good to take on it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Owner of Pink beater bike

Well, after much considering, I decided to go hunt for a Winter Beater bike.  I was that close to getting one a while back, but it was stolen from the person.

A customer who comes where I work had one that she has not used much since she bought it 2 yrs ago.  It's not an expensive bike by any means, but as money has been tight (saving for future trip to Egypt and I want to buy some good German bike bags and a bike trailer later this year) I couldn't get myself to buy a new bike at this time only to have it destroyed by the salt on the roads. I thought I'd check it out.

She lives in a funeral home and it turns out I remember her Mom and her Mom remembered me from way back when I worked at another restaurant in the early 90's.  Small world!

Chain is rusted out, but cassette/cogset is rust free.

I looked at the bike and it was in decent shape.  I could tell it was hardly used, no dirt to speak of, anywhere including the spokes on the wheels.  The chain is rusted out and there are small patches of rust on the front chain ring, but I think the chain ring rust can be cleaned off.  I am not sure about the chain?  Is it worth to salvage or better to get another one?  I could learn how to remove and put on a new chain.  Everything else is not worn, ie brakes look like they have never been used.  I imagine the bike might have been stored outside at one point or at a damp place which is why the chain rusted.

I hope I made the right choice, bike seems to fit me ok, not too tall.  Similar frame size to my Rocky Mtn.  I'll have to outfit it with fenders/rack, and eventually, studded tires.  This is a start though.  I still wouldn't mind getting a better bike suited for Winter later on, but this the best I could come up for now for the little budget room that I currently have.

Dec 27 Update:  I am trying to justify to myself and others why I bought a cheaper bike for Winter.  I don't know if I need to.  At the very least it gives me a chance to learn about bike maintenance.  I have never changed a chain before, so I am using this opportunity to learn how.  I bought a chain and chain tool today.  I don't know...mixed feelings about it.  I know it will probably be a use and toss bike.  Although I could salvage the wheels and other parts to eventually get a 'beater' bike built by person at local bike shop who specializes in building bikes perfect for Winter use, with used parts.  The rims/tires look like new.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biking in Winter is adventurous!

It's been a good week so far.  It has been quite warm.  The snow is melting and the road is bare again, so it's easy riding!  I walked on Monday and regretted it, so I took out the bike on Tuesday.

This is the main street that I have to ride on to go to work and back.  As the bike lane is covered in snow, I have to take a lane.  Most people seem ok with that, but there are some impatient people!  I suppose the city should be clearing the shoulders so there's a place to bike.  At least people can see me from over a mile away as my back blinker is extremely bright!

I don't always use the bike lane in the Summer as there are cars parked along it and when I get to the light I don't like to be in that lane, I take a lane so that cars wanting to turn right can do so.  And I have less worry of getting hit!

Oh gosh, yet ANOTHER flat.

Changing the tube.
On Wednesday, I had to walk.  I noticed a flat tire on the back wheel when I was getting ready to go to work in the early morning.  It's the second flat that I've had this week.  The first I noticed while at work and it was on the front tire!  I took it to the bike shop nearby work and had it fixed.  I wonder why I am getting flats all of a sudden?  I have had the bike for almost 2 years and not a single flat!  Wonder what is on the roads?

Update:  I had a third one today, on the front wheel again.  I biked to work and back with no problems, but then biked to the dentist.  After my appointment, I rode for a bit, then noticed front tire wasn't right.  Darn!  What is the cause of this?  Should I just patch the hole this time as it's mostly likely pinhole sized?  Or get yet ANOTHER tube?  I am thinking of putting biking on hold for a time until I get a beater bike for winter use.

I was going to get one today after work, as a customer had one for sale that he has hardly used.  I waited 45 lovely minutes in the freezing cold for him to come.  I had even withdrawn money from atm to pay for the bike.  I just wanted to see what I was going to be buying as I don't like to buy something without seeing it first.  That choked me up!  I guess back to the drawing board.  :(  I just can't keep on biking and getting flats all the time, 3 flat this week is a lot, especially since I have never had a flat until this point.

Anyone else with a hybrid bike/tires have this problem?  I'm perplexed.

I will use it to go grocery shopping though for now as it's still easier.  But I will have no spare tubes if I put in my spare instead of patching.

Bike in pieces after I took offer of a ride home tonight.

Oh, speaking of flat, I had a bit of a miracle tonight.  I was running with bike home as I was afraid to try and use the bike racks on bus.  Well, I was almost going to try to catch bus just ahead, but I wouldn't have made it.  Some lady came up and offered help.  I explained that I had a flat and wanted to get home quickly.  She was concerned that I'd burn my lungs in the cold while running.  She was a very outdoors type of person too, which was kind of cool.  She was very impressed about me biking in the Winter.  She told me about this bike shop in town which has a  person who can custom build a bike, even a 'beater' one.  I knew about this, but it was nice of her to mention about it.   I have GREAT faith in people!  Isn't that amazing?  I am glad she helped me out and I only wish I could remember her name.  I can't thank her enough!  I had to take both tires off of bike to fit in the back of the car, but we did it and I got home safely.  Yeh!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Took out my snowshoes! (Sorry bicycle)

Last weekend I was commenting on how easy it was to take out my bicycle instead of my snowshoes.  Well, today I went snowshoeing with the Caledonia Ramblers Hiking club.  It was the PERFECT day for it!  It wasn't too cold outside and the sun came out later.  I could also sleep in as the snowshoe was close to town and started at 9am.

We snowshoed up on the Greenway trail which is by the University of Northern British Columbia.  It's a very popular place for people to walk, bike, ski, or snowshoe.

There's me.

There was a decent sized group today which was nice.  We started off on the trail then bushwacked for a bit till we came upon a trail again.  Total distance covered, 10kms, so not too long.  My kind of snowshoe!  I got some fresh air, and good company, what more could I ask for?

We stop to let people catch up.

The sun peaks out during our lunch break.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perfect Winter Day

It's 3pm and the sun is setting.

I'd rather ride my bike then snowshoe.  I could have taken out my snowshoes, but I decided to take out my bike again as it was such a nice day!  That's what I am finding this Winter.  But heh, if I REALLY love to bike, even in the Winter, over anything else, then so be it!  On days like this, it's nice to be out and about on my bike.  I didn't even feel cold although it's -13 c  (8.5 f).  The sun really warms things up.

I first biked to the mall to use a gift card that I got from work.  I got a good deal on a toaster oven so I bought one, and a few dvds.  I live alone so using a 6 slice toaster oven to cook my food makes much more sense then using an oven.  And I can store it away when I am not using it.  I strapped it on the back basket using my bunjee cords.  I walked it home, although I could have biked safely.  I biked a little when I was on the side streets.
My new deluxe Toaster Oven for a steal!

After bringing toaster oven home I decided to go for a little ride down the path that is near me that I use lots in Summer.  It has been cleared, so it was easy riding on it.  What a lovely afternoon to go for a quick ride, before the sun sets.  There are ducks here that someone has left food for so they won't go hungry.  What a lovely day!  Cheered me right up, much better then staying home.  I love Winters!
Path is cleared, perfect for walking or biking.

Ducks are well fed.  I should leave them some food.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Full Winter riding

I am not biking as much as I do from Spring to Fall, but I am still taking out the bike once a week, even though it has no studs on the tires.  I walk to work as it's not that far away and I don't have to worry about finding a spot for it so it gives me a break.  My spot at work is hard to get to sometimes as hallway gets full of stock!  There has been some good riding days though

But since I find it easier to shop or carry big packages with the bike, I have been using it on the weekends to do my errands.  The shopping mall is near here so I don't have to bike very far.  Last weekend I carried a parcel on it to mail and pick up some photos, so using bicycle save me much time!

Today I picked up some groceries and despite fresh snow, it was easy riding for me.  I can purchase more then what I can purchase with just my daypack, so I took advantage of it and stocked up on some bulkier items.  I might go back and get mailing stuff for items that I want to send out for xmas...

As you can see, Winter is in full swing now, we have tons more snow then last year.  Which will be great if I can get myself to take my snowshoes out and use them!  Beautiful day today to do that...


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