Saturday, June 20, 2015

Return of the Soho

Things were going quite well.  1860 miles from mid-February to May.  No issues to speak of.  Then the wobble in the rear wheel.  Perhaps it was time to take it in.  I did do a curb recently.  I do tend to overload the bike on grocery runs.  True the wheel.  The chain was sagging a bit and probably stretched to its limit as i already pulled the wheel back to add tension.  The Soho had a lot of miles on it very quickly.

But Spring is a bad time of year to take a bike to the LBS of origin.  Too many people take theirs in for the "I have not ridden this bike since Ragbrai" tune up and repairs are backed up to two weeks.  Fortunately, Thomas recognized my name and knows that I ride.  I could get it in and out in a day.  Sweet.  Then I got greedy.  "Switch the 19T cog out for a 22 since you have the wheel off."  I wanted more low end for climbs and acceleration.  Gears 5 through 7 are rarely used.  It's a commuter so top end high speed will not be missed.

I rode the bike to the shop.  Stopped at the car wash to blast the mud off of it as it had been a wet filthy Spring.  Let the mechanics work on the bike instead of cleaning it.  That's the nice thing to do.  Made arrangements for Craig to pick me up from the shop.

It was done as promised.  Cog switched, brake cables lubed.  Chain was tightened instead of replaced as the Shimano tool and ruler indicated that it was still good.  The rear wheel was fine.  The culprit was the rear tire was bulging and they replaced it with a donor tire.  Same brand, same model Bontrager H2 with reflective sidewalls.  I asked to speak to the mechanic for the 411 I really needed when I purchased the bike.  Removal of wheels is what I needed to know.  How to do this.  He showed me.  Less complicated than I thought but still more difficult than a bike with quick release or even a standard single speed.  The Nexus 7 speed hub and Shimano roller brakes are the reason it is difficult.  its the price of wanting a weather proof bike.  I took the front wheel off and place it in the car and drove home without testing riding.  What a mistake.

The bike felt like a fixed gear bike.  The crank always moved even when coasting.  I called Bike World and spoke to Steve since I trusted and knew him.  "Loosen the tension on the chain."  I did, no joy.  Basically put 10 miles on the bike before taking the wheel back.  The lock ring on the rear hub came loose and I did not know how to lock it up properly.  They showed me and off I went.

Now realize that I am slow.  Since I have other bikes the Soho was placed on the back burner.  This is taking weeks.  But I used this time to practice taking the wheel off and practice adjusting chain tension and practice locking the lock ring.  Still no joy as the bike acted like a fixie and the lock ring came undone.  Time to take it in again.  Something is wrong with the hub.

Loaded the bike in the car and took the rear wheel off Mary's pink bike since it had two broken spokes after 5000 miles since September.  Like bad customers, we showed up unannounced and without appointment. "Fix this please, these are the symptoms."  "Right away, sir.  We can get Pinkie's wheel done now if you have a half an hour.  For the Soho it may be Monday if we have to get a washer or part."  "No hurry, I have spare bikes."  It was a pleasant experience.  I was prepared to read the Riot Act but was in a good mood and acted in a civilized manner.  The text about the Pinkie's wheel beeped the phone before we got home.  It was fixed and cleaned up.  Yeah, it was a filthy wheel.

Pinkie.  Mary's single speed Windsor.  Her commuter.

The call came Friday.  Wheel from floor bike was placed on while we wait for bearings from Shimano to arrive.  Bearing must have gone bad when cog was replaced.  No charge.  Pick it up on your leisure.  Exchange wheels and tire when it gets here.  A week to the minute!

We were almost ready to call them having not heard about the bike.  My Trek 2200 road bike became the commuter.  My bagger bikes are in various states of disrepair.  One would think that I'd be motivated now to get at least one of them running.  But I am lazy and the 2200 is fast and pleasurable to ride.  I did miss the ability to stop at Windsor heights Hy Vee and overload a bike with groceries.  Instead I waited until I got home and hitched the Burley to the Bianchi and rode to Fareway.  Mary missed this, too, me bringing home groceries after work.

Om my way to Fareway.  Des Moines River Trail.  this trail was flooded earlier this week but the water is gone the the mud cleared away

We drove out to pick it up.  The other option was to ride the tandem to Bike World and solo home on it while Mary rode the Soho.  Too humid for that.  92F and high humidity.  I hated walking out to the car!

Well, the bike worked great!  Did some shopping on it:  B&B, Grazianos and Fareway.  After dinner Mary and I went on a cruise to check out the remnants of the flooded trails.  The Bill Riley trail is fine although more dirt and mud removal would be greatly appreciated.  We then stopped at Gray's Lake and watched the sunset and the lightning to the south of Des Moines while enjoying a chilled bottle of moscato.  It was good to have a functioning bike with bags again!  Now I have to take the Trek's rear wheel in for a true after the raccoon incident or Ingersoll abuse.

Back in 1991 I asked a mechanic what the number one issue for Ragbrai bike repairs was.  Wheels.  Damn, how I believe him now.  What a learning experience.  I knew it from the start that this bike would be more difficult but I am glad that Bike World took the time to explain how this thing operates.

The Bianchi and the Soho at B&B

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