Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beyond busy...

I open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays. This is due in part to riders being out early on the weekend and wanting to be available to service problems they might have with their bikes. Yesterday, I stopped at the Bovine Bakery for my usual Saturday morning blueberry scone, opened up did some organizing/cleaning and waited. The weather this weekend is spectacular. One of those weekends with blue sky, warm temps, light breeze - perfect cycling weather.

I didn't have to wait long as riders seemed to flood in to the shop with a host of problems. Most notable was a rider who's seat post had broken. A week or so ago, this same rider had been in the shop with a "broken" frame. He frame is steel with carbon seat stays. The carbon stays are held to the dropout by a small 5mm bolt. This bolt on the drive side was simply missing. Very odd since for the bolt to back out, it has to move into the cogset. Should have been very noticeable while riding. I checked to make sure the threads were okay, found an appropriate bolt, added some loctite to the threads and bolted his frame back together - good as new!

So he comes in yesterday. The frame is still fine. The bolt is holding tight. But his seat post is broken. The clamp that holds the seat rails has cracked. Should be simple to just remove the broken seat post and replace it with a new post since I don't have replacement parts for the unique clamp design. But no, this one's not simple. His carbon post is absolutely frozen into his steel seat tube. And without the ability to clamp the seat to the seat post to try to twist it out, it's even worse.

So far, in almost two years, I've never had someone come in with a problem so bad that they couldn't at least ride back to their car or back home. I'm determined not to have this be the first. The clamp is comprised of two pins that have bolts threaded into them which pull the saddle rails onto the bottom cradle. The forward pin broke in half. How I got him back on the road was to move the rear pin to the front and I fabricated a U shaped clamp out of a couple of pieces of steel strap which I then bolted on top of the seat rail. This made it so the rider could sit on the seat and it wouldn't tip backwards and the fabricated bracket kept the seat from shifting side to side or rocking forward under a light load. I sent him out to test it out. He came back with a thumbs up and after a monetary exchange, he was back out on the road.

After that one, all the other emergency repairs were a piece of cake. Two riders came in together, both with destroyed tires. The casings had failed somehow - sharp rocks/pothole... They both went back out with proper 25c Conti Ultra Gatorskins and extra tubes. Another rider had a sliced sidewall and he too went back out with a new 25c Ultra Gatorskin.

In keeping with the wheel problem theme, another rider had a broken nipple on his front wheel. Odd. But after finding out that the wheels are 5 years old, he rides along the coast, it broke while braking hard at the bottom of the Marshall Wall, and the nipples are aluminum, it made sense. New nipple and he was back on the road. Another wheel problem was a rear Reynolds wheel way out of true. Reynolds wheels with the nipple only accessible from inside the rim are a PITA to true, because tire/tube/rim strip have to come off. Not a fun task on the road, but not too bad in a shop. 15 minutes later, he was back on the road.

In between all of that was a new 10s chain install to replace a broke chain which also managed to tweak the cage of the Dura Ace front derailleur. Installation of new rear brake and derailleur cable and housing on a mountain bike. And then I managed to eat lunch at about 3:00. At 4:00 I closed up and took the dog for a nice bike ride while he ran up the mountain out of Inverness. It was hot and he was a panting, tired dog when we got back. But not too tired. He still wanted to play his favorite game, fetch, with his favorite ball when we got back to the house because that's what we do every evening and he is a creature of habit.

(What's on: The Giro d'Italia live on universalsports.com)

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