Finally some long overdue bike content…

The oldest boy and I spent some time this weekend setting up an older Cannondale V500 for a friend who’s daughter will use it as secondary transportation at college. The bike was apparently picked up at a pawn shop a few years ago, and then languished in the garage as a well intentioned attempt to “get in shape” as so many often do. The tires had dry rotted and glued themselves to the tubes inside, someone had rather crudely drilled out the presto holes in the rims for Schrader valve stems, and there were burrs all over the edges, likely flattening several tubes. Additionally the rear brakes were badly misaligned, and since canti-levers are iffy to adjust for most folks, it looks like no more than passing attempts to remedy their lack of power had been made. The shifting was off track a bit, but not bad, just enough to make that noise we’ve all heard from a million misaligned bikes on the trail or bike paths, just the sound of friction. It had grip shifts from the factory, and someone had put full size grips on it, leaving the inch or so extra just hanging off the end of the bar (!!), and even those were pretty much fully worn out. I really don’t know how people ride a bike like that, and I do accept that not everyone takes these things as seriously as I do.

We went over it from nose to tail, we made up a little punch list of what it needed, and then what was going to be difficult, given the bikes age. For instance, the frame isn’t wide enough to fit any bigger than 1.9 x 26 inch tires, and those aren’t fallin off the shelves at the LBS (or online really) these days. Thankfully I had a set of older all terrain (almost semi slicks really) from an old project in the box, and I was able to use those, free in up space in my storage boxes, as well as getting her some tires better suited to the way she actually rides. We put a standard tube up front, and a slime filled tube for the rear to ward off pinch flats and such, since the bike is transportation, not a race bike. Those slime tubes are heavy just the same, that wheel was easily 500 grams heavier with it.

We replaced all the cables, including the brakes, but as the housing looked basically new, we just lubed them with the new cables. The canti pads were ok, if a little hard, so some careful adjusting and we had some solid stoppers for her, and when road tested by Jack who outweighs her by 50 pounds, and definitely rides harder than she will, they received the “great brakes” rating, typically reserved for discs by the boy who never had never ridden old skool stoppers before.

We lubed up the non cartridge headset, cleaned and lubed the fork seal wipers, checked the torque on the hub bearing caps, and scrubbed the drive train free of the surface rust wrought by garage life. While I was truing the wheels, Jackson took to scrubbing the seat which had some sort of white grease or something similar on it. I wouldn’t have bothered but he got it spotless, and then moved on to removing the weathered paper stickers placed smack in the middle of the head tube by the pawn shop. In the end, for a bike that probably hadn’t seen a proper bike mechanic in 20 years, she came out very nice. Our intended riders mom picked up a generic rear rack to enable easier carrying of the backpack and book bags college students are saddled with, so we mounted that up and loctited the screws to prevent them creating that rattle all those things seem to have.

Jack took sometime to thoroughly scrub the frame, and then waxed it with nanowax from Meguiar’s and we called it a day. We delivered it two days later, so she’s now had it for about three weeks. Her mom came by my office the other day to let me know she loved it, and was thrilled. She hadn’t expected the appearance to improve so dramatically, so she was surprised with the total package.

Job well done.

Fixes and Things –

Or “The Exciting World of Old Landcruiser Ownership”

So friday as I left for work, I suddenly got every warning light in my truck lit and beeping, telling me “she cant take na more!”. I thought it was just an error from having washed pollen off and heavily spraying the area around the cowl, but pretty quick, almost as fast as I turned onto McNeil the temp gauge went up and it became apparent that something was wrong. Since the temperature was involved, and you cant play with overheating on these vehicles, I pulled over and shut her off. As soon as I stepped out I heard the bubbling and knew it really was hot, not just an erroneous error light, so I popped the hood and one of my two alternator/water pump belts was hanging in pieces, and the other was wrapped around the crank pulley. Since the truck has two, I could have reset the remaining good one and limped along, but I was only a couple of blocks from home so I let her cool and then drove home in two stages and parked her.

that’s not right…
The lights weren’t wrong…

I ordered the belts from Toyota of Cedar Park, and of course they wouldn’t be in til Saturday (life with a 25 year old truck). Saturday we had Jack’s Drill Meet, Hal Aaron, and it ran late, and I didnt get out there to pick them up (they close at 5) but even so, luck had more in store for me, when we came out of the drill meet, all happy and pleased with ourselves, we found the right rear tire completely flat and the Buick sitting hard on the pavement. Upon pulling it off I found two things, one it has a large screw broken off inside it, and two, the inner sidewall is trashed, and the tire isn’t fit for use. Clearly it had been driven on low pressure for a while, heating up the sidewall, and causing it to fail. Meh.

yeah, thats flat…
There’s a big ugly screw in there…

So my truck was down, and now Sam’s too, combine these two and you get a stressful week. I’ve been driving her car pn the donut spare all week waiting on additional Toyota parts, and she’s grumpy about not having wheels, I’m grumpy about not having MY wheels, and all in all it’s upsetting the normal flow around here. Everyone in this family is very resistant to change of any kind, except maybe for Jack, he doesn’t care, blissfully cruising through life.

We finally got out to Toyota of Cedar Park (Great dealership btw) on Monday morning and picked up the belts so that evening we started buttoning things back up.

New parts are so lovely…

Jack and I were making good progress til we test fit the radiator shroud and we very carefully broke the bypass nipple off the radiator. We had to MacGiver a fix since I couldn’t really wait two more weeks for the replacement radiator to arrive, 25 year old Landcruiser parts like that aren’t usually in stock at your local shop…

Nice clean threads

We ended up drilling out the area where the nipple attached, and tapping it for a 1/2 inch NPT fitting with a barb for the hose. There are few smaller options, and I was worried about not having enough material to make suitable threads with a smaller diameter fitting. It was somewhat stressful punching a big hole were only a tiny port was supposed to go, but since the radiator was broken, I couldn’t really make it worse, and we dove right in. We used a heat gun to soften and stress relieve the plastic around the fitting, and very slowly drilled the hole with a step bit to prevent bind cracking.

right before I epoxied it in

That went without a hitch, and we re-warmed the plastic, and slowly turned the fitting in to make threads in the plastic tank. Once it setup I screwed it back out, coated the threads in epoxy and screwed it back in hopefully permanently.

So far so good.

Its been 210 miles now and no leaks, so I think this will get me through a bit til I order the replacement radiator. I would have ordered it straight away but I had the unexpected expense of new tires for the Buick as I said, so wait we will. It has just been a perfect storm of vehicle issues this last week, and the pain is that I knew the belts needed replacing. I put it off last month and just tightened them to reduce noise. We had a lot going on with birthdays and work and inclement weather so I just pushed them a little too far.

This guy…

I would not have completed this work with my mental faculties intact without my Son Jack’s help. The guy is a trooper, and Mr Positivity on projects like this.

J removing the oil filter

He can just get in there and almost immediately see what needs to be done, and a good way to do it. Among other things, when I couldn’t get the stainless elbow for the thermostat to line up with the housing, and sat above watching me struggle with it til he saw what was happening and just reached down and slipped them together. I would have fought it for another hour at least. He says sometimes that he wants to be a mechanic, and I honestly can’t fault him, it’s a solid profession with the right training.

Mama got new shoes…

We put new tires on the Buick yesterday, and despite being about 1500.00 poorer, between the tires and various Toyota parts, my peace of mind is increased immeasurably. Cest ‘La Vie.

Carson

This is the second time I’ve done this workout, the first time I skipped the coaching notes and did it all at 90+ rpm. Tonight I listened to ol Chad and did it at 75 with the standing drills. It was harder for sure, but still no where near as hard as some of the other SSB workouts. Im thankful for that tonight though, I’m just cleared out from being sick and this was a very good settle back into routine.

I rocked a little metal while I rode tonight.

what I’m reading…and listening to

I’ve been reading a good bit lately, some traditional words on paper books, some in digital format on my kindle or iPad, and some audio, with Audible or other services.

Just the title

Probably the most significant read has been “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s been a significant read, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll certainly follow it with another of Yuval’s books, probably “21 Lessons for the 21st Century“, as it seems well reviewed, and in much the same vein. I am thoroughly fascinated with the Human condition, for lack of a better phrase right now. What makes us, “us”. This books goes a long way, and has certainly challenged my thinking on a few things, specifically the constructs we use to establish order and normalcy in our every day lives that are nothing more than fictions.

The story lives up to the art

I’m not always so heavy, I also just re read “Leviathan Wakes“, the first book in the FANTASTICExpanse” series. Tomorrow I am starting “Caliban’s War” which is the sequel, for the second time. I’m rereading these in advance of the release of the fourth season of “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime TV. I don’t think I’m over speaking when I say it’s the best sci fi on tv in a very, very long time. Sci Fi isn’t everyones bag, but I’m a huge fan.

lovely, lovely music

As for what I’ve been listening to, I’ve always been a big fan of classical violin, and by far my favorite violinist is Hilary Hahn. I’ve been a fan for many years, and she’s recently released an album titled “Retrospective” that includes a small piece that was specifically commissioned for her called “Blue Curve of the Earth” penned by Tina Davidson. I stumbled on it actually accidentally a few days ago looking for another Hahn piece to play while I had coffee. It’s a magical display of Hahn’s talents, and Davidson’s artistry.

When I find something I truly like on Spotify, or Apple Music, I usually go out and pick up the SACD or at least buy the piece online, it just feels right. In this case I’ve picked up both the CD (no SACD has been released as of yet) and the LP. The LP was recorded by Deutsche Grammaphon “direct to disc”, which captures the sound directly from the microphones in the room, sending them without any interpretation, to the cutting head of the LP Master. I found it interesting, and there are noticeable differences to the sound. If you’re a sound geek like me, you should check it out.

2018, not the year I wanted, but the year I deserved…

2018

I spent quite a few years (most of my adult life) not taking care of myself properly. That is not to say I didn’t exercise, actually quite the opposite, I drove myself harder than I should have, much harder. I pushed through numerous injuries, I didn’t listen to physical therapists, I blew off treatment.

In 2016 it caught up with me. Like screeching halt, smashing into a brick wall, full stop. I had no choice but to go through a couple of corrective surgeries, a long period of physical therapy and I spent almost an entire year off the bike, not running, not lifting, and not even swimming. 2018 was the year that followed. I had the last surgery in April, and after a very careful year of therapy and strenghtening, I managed a little more than 700 miles on the bike, and the first runs I’v been able to do since 2016. I am very cautiously optimistic for 2019.

Saturday Night Funtime


I have to say that I feel kinda bad about wearing my “Belgian the fuck up”socks for an indoor ride, but it is winter in Texas, so suck it. I also bought a heater for the pain cave. 🙂 It’s about 37 degrees here, which is cold enough to be legit cold, but not enough to make the humidity drop, so it’s spirit crushingly cold. For reals. My buddy from the Canadian Army in Manitoba says the coldest he’s ever been in his life was in Texas.

Carson -3 TrainerRoad

This was a good ride, I can definitely feel my strength coming back on, I have a ramp test scheduled for the 8th and I feel like I’ll go up considerably. I wouldn’t say this workout was easy, but I was never in any type of crisis or duress. Though if done at a lower cadence and doing stomps at the beginning of each interval as Chad suggests, I think it would be considerably more challenging.