psi_star_psi: (BRM!)
Yesterday's big project for the afternoon was Cleaning Out the Van. I gathered a recycling can, trash can, and laundry basket (to hold Stuff), then started shoveling. I opened the garage door to retrieve the containers and revealed the bikes, so the kids decided to ride those instead of their scooters. Shortly after I began, Gwen asked that I remove her training wheels.

This request came from nowhere for me. I was informed that the girls practiced at a park last week when they encountered some older kids riding about. OK, I was willing to see how she did. A quick application of the wrench rendered her bike a true two-wheeler.

She walked down the driveway to the sidewalk, hopped on, and rode a good 20 feet on her first try. On the next try, she rode to the end of the block. Wow. Ike grumbled about her rapid progress until I reminded him that he learned to ride without training wheels while wearing a cast on his foot. He was mollified by this point.

Of course, Elli next requested the removal of her training wheels. Her bolts permitted the use of the socket wrench, so she and Ike took off one side each. Elli needed more help than Gwen, probably due to less practice at the park. Within a half-hour she was going up and down the block also.

After [ profile] aelfie finished cleaning the car (because I was running about doing bike things), I took my bike down from the ceiling hooks, installed the child seat, and popped Gray on back. Jen stayed home to rest her foot while the kids and I rode off a few blocks to a school playground. It was a short, level ride for the girls to practice riding in low-traffic conditions.

We played at the park for an hour, then returned home. About two houses before we arrived, Gwen's chain popped off. She was very disappointed not to make it all the way home on her own. The chain looked as rusty as Ike's old bike, so I'm not surprised it is loose. I put it back on twice this morning. Jen plans to take it to the bike shop for proper tightening.
psi_star_psi: (Default)
After Jen and Elli got up from their naps today, we took the family out for a bike ride. Just a bit of a jaunt around the neighborhood and on to a nearby park. Ike didn't want to ride his bike, so he went in the trailer behind Jen's with a sister while I took the other girl in the seat on mine. It was a pleasant excursion and a good tonic to the drama of the past few days.

While we were at the park, I used Jen's bike for comparison to figure out how the odometer/speedometer device works. I didn't put the front wheel on backward, I just needed to turn the small magnet on the spoke 90 degrees into the correct alignment. I saw the readouts on the way home. Keen!

Last weekend, I found the spare valve cap in the watch pocket of my ratty jeans. So now I've completed all of the open items from the bicycle repair. I am almost unbearably smug, at least in a bicycle sense.
psi_star_psi: (CG-HtHC)
After last week's aborted attempt to repair my bike, I went to the original bike store with the pump on Saturday. The salesman noted that the lock lever didn't have enough resistance, so he took the nozzle apart for inspection. Nothing seemed broken, so he got another pump of the same model for reference. A quick disassembly of the reference nozzle revealed an extra part. He hunted around in the workshop and gave me a replacement piece. Keen! I also picked up two spare inner tubes in case my patch doesn't hold, and he gave me an extra valve cap since I've lost the one for the patched tube.

The pump works much better with all of its pieces. I recall trying to use the ball needle without success last summer, so I disassembled the nozzle trying to figure out how it was supposed to work. This comes of the lack of instructions for the pump. Obviously, I didn't get all of the pieces back together when I was done. Once again, I went into theoretical physics for a reason.

Tonight, Ike and I finished up the repair job. Ike inflated the patched tube so I could check whether the patch will hold. After the tube got about 50% bigger than it ought, I realized the rim and tire hold its size down so the pressure will go up. Duh. We deflated it, then I messed around until I got the tube in the tire and the tire on the rim. I'm not clear on how the tire levers are intended to assist in this part, but it went on without too much grunting.

I pumped the tube back up so the wheel would hold together, then all that was left was reattaching the tire. Ha-ha! Remember, this isn't a quick-release assembly, so now the real fun began. Also, I don't have a bike stand. First I tried having Ike hold the tire while I fiddled with the whole bike body to get the prongs in place. Then I sent him off to get [ profile] aelfie and had her hold the bike. Only five minutes and three different positions later, I managed to fit the pieces together in the correct order...I think. It looks plausible, anyway.

I put on the nuts and let Ike tighten them, pumped up both tires to the proper pressure, and sat on the bike for a moment. It seems to hold the pressure. The big test will come when I have a chance to ride it. Will the patch give way? Did I miss whatever caused the original hole in the tire? Will the front wheel fall off? So many exciting possibilities!

I think the tire may be on backwards. Yes, I know, that's absurd, but I'm not convinced the speedometer will function properly. I think it just requires moving a piece of red tape over to the other side of the spokes, but who knows? I'd have to figure out where the manual for the distance meter is. And I lost the replacement valve cap somewhere too. Fortunately, several body parts I greatly value are attached firmly to my body.
psi_star_psi: (CG-Mot)
Ike has been requesting a bike ride, but I have to patch my front tire first. So Monday I went to the hardware store for some incidentals and hit the nearby bike shop for tire levers. I already have at least two patch kits, one of which I could still find this evening, a bike pump, and standard tools, so everything should be dandy, right? Heh, heh, heh, that's funny.

Because I have an "old school" bike (it's stylin', you see), I don't have the quick-release on the tires. I wouldn't have known this was a feature when I was getting the bike, so only now do I understand the importance. But an adjustable wrench worked fine to remove the nuts, and I experimented until the wheel came off. I think I even know how to put it back when the time comes. The outer tire was easy to remove from the rim, and I extracted the inner tube.

Next it was hunt for the leak. At this point I remembered that the pump was giving me problems the last time I tried it on Ike's bike. I thought that was just for his tires, but no, it now doesn't lock on mine. I unscrewed the part that goes around the air intake, pushed it on and twisted down solidly, then screwed it onto the pump nozzle. This only worked because I was handling the inner tube alone. This made a seal, though, so I could pump up the tube to search for the leak. After a few minutes of fooling around, I rotated it around at two inches from my face and felt the air flow at one point. It was tiny. I fiddled around with the patch kit (of course it doesn't have instructions, but "" has a good article on how to patch a bike tire) and got something that looked convincing. Maybe even in the right location. I left it to set until the kids were all in bed.

Returning, I figured I'd better test the tube before I put it back on the bike. Every once in a while I make the Wisdom Roll. And now it was back to fun with the pump. Not happening. I'm going to take the bloody thing back to the bike shop and make them show me how it works. Again, it didn't come with instructions, and even online I can't find decent explanations of how to work a specific brand of bike pump. It's just one of those things you're expected to have picked up somewhere, like breathing, walking, and chewing gum. Bah.

I'm not too upset, though, since the weather reports predict "Giant Winter Storm of Doom!". My parents on the East Coast should get a good laugh over that.
psi_star_psi: (CG-StBY)
Yesterday, I rode my bike at either end of the train trip to work again. That was to work, not back from work. In the afternoon, I noticed the front tire was a bit low. No, wait, it was completely flat. Great.

I walked the bike to the train and called [ profile] aelfie to pick me up on the home end. Then I got to figure out how to put the bike up on the rack atop the minivan. Since it was 1.5 years ago that I had the technique demonstrated, this went poorly. While Jen held me up against the van, I screwed around with the unbalanced bike, cussed a lot, and shouted repeatedly at Ike to get back in his seat. Eventually, Jen suggested that I undo the wheel straps rather than try to balance the bike on top of them. (She's the one with the common sense.) I had much better luck with her idea.

Ike had so aggravated us with his behavior that we refused to give him some Happy Meal toy lying in the passenger foot-well. He shared his unhappiness the whole, mercifully short trip home. We still wouldn't give him the toy, so he ran around to the other side of the van while we took the girls in. I came back out to round him up, and he was gone. Dandy.

I looked up and down the street, but I couldn't see him. Jen stood in front of the house to scan and be near the girls while I took off running to one end of the block. No sign of him. Turning around, I saw him down at the far end of the block and ran back home. Jen intercepted me and sent me inside to watch the girls. (She's the one with the common sense. Right, I said that already.) I settled down, caught my breath, and changed clothes. She walked him back home and had a chat on the front step about his frustration and disappointment.

Eventually, we had a decent enough evening. I just didn't need that much extra exercise and strife on an empty stomach. Fortunately, I knew that the car was ready to be picked up this morning. Wheels!

I guess now I'll really find out if I can manage to patch a bike tire.

Mr. Green

Sep. 14th, 2007 10:02 am
psi_star_psi: (CG-Mot)
Inspired by several others' accounts, I rode my bike at either end of the train trip to work today. Ah, the fresh air, the exercise, the saving of gas, the benefit to the environment, all combine to make me feel warm and fuzzy and...

Fine. The car's in the shop. Happy?

(It was a pleasant ride anyway.)


psi_star_psi: (Default)

May 2016



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