That’s No Way to Treat a Bike

11.18.2005 | 1:27 am

Congratulations to Rocky for winning yesterday’s contest. Yeah, he’s my brother-in-law, but he still had the best story. And I figured, the fact that I’m his bro-in-law is punishment enough; it shouldn’t stop him from winning a contest: 

My second real moutain bike was an Ibis Mojo. It was a steel wonder. I decided that I would build it up myself, since I needed to learn bikes. I did. Along the way the bottom bracket began to creak a little. I pulled the crank and tightened the bottom bracket–super snug it was. The sound went away and I was happy. Then it came back. "Hey, it worked once, I’ll do it again." After three or four of those episodes, the bottom bracket d finally just gave out. I tried to remove it, but it would not let go. I took it to the bike shop to have them look at it.

They tried every which way to get it to let go but to no avail. I returned at the appointed hour to pick up my bike and there it was, still in the mechanic’s stand awaiting some badly needed repair. I asked if there was anything that could be done to remove it. The mechanic reached under his table and pulled out a 4 ft. "cheater pipe." He said that he would not try it, but that I was welcome to. He didn’t want the liability. He helped me set it up, and then, like a loving mother that cannot standby and watch her dying child suffer, he went to lunch. I wrestled with it there in the shop alone for ten or fifteen minutes, only to discover (when he returned) that I was turning it the wrong way–I was further tightening it. You know, that left-hand thread thing.

The good news is that all of that wrenching in the wrong direction had broken the vise grip that the bottom bracket had on the frame. With only significant, monstrous effort did it let go competely when I was finally turning it in the correct direction. At last, I was free of that infernal creaking.

That day I learned two things. I first learned that some graphite powder or some grease should go into the threads of the bottom bracket and the frame prior to tightening it. Second, I learned that the mechanical stuff should be left to the mechanics.

All Apologies

I have a crushing headache and am swamped at work. So while I tried to write something this morning, tried again at lunch, and tried again after work, I’m simply not funny today. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that everything I wrote was better off deleted than read. It just didn’t happen. At all. As you can see.

I’m going to go ride my bike home now and get a good night’s sleep. I may also show a pint of Ben and Jerry’s who’s boss.  


  1. Comment by Unknown | 11.18.2005 | 2:53 am

    Hey man, I’m here even if you’re not funny. Or giving stuff away.lrod

  2. Comment by AO | 11.18.2005 | 3:13 am

    way to go rocky! don’t think that this win has somehow reversed the KBH curse though. at least we all hope not!!fatty, hope you feel better tomorrow, ‘cuz a three-day break is more than i can take.

  3. Comment by Glen | 11.18.2005 | 3:38 am

    Dig in Fatty – it may only get worse. Be creative, you’re a cyclist and your sister is a substance abuse counselor – plently of possible drug cocktails to be thought up to get you through the pain !Cheers, G.p.s. your stuff over the last fortnight has been exceptional, maybe your brain has melted from overuse ?

  4. Comment by Sue | 11.18.2005 | 4:36 am

    Here’s my entry. Is it too late?Can I please have the watch?Just kidding.Worst (and most recent). Sent the bike in for a new rear shock, and the mechanic moved my saddle and seatpost.Best.Worked with this guy at A&B cycles in Springfield, Mo who would re-build components. And they worked as good or better than new (This was in 93 and I can’t remember whether it was LX or XT rear derailleurs that had super whimpy springs and wore out in no time. This guy would mount a spring within the existing spring. The bike shop had a small box full of these derailleurs and he fixed ‘em all).Botched

  5. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 11.18.2005 | 6:04 am

    ellrod – you’re a prince. nikared – i’ll be back tomorrow am. i think i’m just tired. big exciting project at work has been consuming me. ‘course, the good thing about that is that i really, really like my job. as in, more than i’ve ever liked any job.scotxc – thanks, man. nice of you to say. i don’t think my brains overused, though — so far, my list of "things i want to write about next" has never had fewer than 3 items in it. what worries me is the day i sit down to write and have nothing at all to say. i guess that’s the day when i turn it over to someone else, right?botched – i know what you’re talking about. i’ve seen rebuilds that are an improvement on the original. it’s a thing of beauty.

  6. Comment by Ariane | 11.18.2005 | 6:17 am

    Argh. Is it one of those headaches that’s really just sort of a low throb, and if you hold absolutely still, you’re okay, but then you think you’re okay, so you shake your head, just to check, and then you see spots and fall over? I hate those. I always think they’re over, so I shake my head to check, and then…PS: Sorry I keep missing your contests. Wednesdays I’m at school from 8:30am to 11:00pm (since the Music Dept is open ’til 11:00 so we can practice), and when I get home, I’ve usually got homework to do.

  7. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 11.18.2005 | 6:53 am

    a.toad – it’s the kind of headache that feels like someone misread the "recommended pressure" for my skull, and inflated it to 140psi. i just wish my noggin had a schraeder valve; i’d know just how to fix this problem. pssssssssssssss.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 11.18.2005 | 9:23 am

    Sounds like a migraine to me. Do you see spots as well, or feel sick, or feel like your eyes are going to pop out?I have these excellent migraine tablets. Now when I have a migraine I can choose between feeling for 5 hours like my head is going to explode or taking a tablet and feeling even worse for two hours, then feeling OK but a bit disconnected for a few more hours. Its a tough choice.

  9. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.18.2005 | 12:42 pm

    Maybe if I married one of your sisters I would win. You start asking around which one is least repulsed by the sight of me and I’ll start divorce proceedings at my end.JOKES GUYS! JUST JOKES, OK! Unless of course Afghanistantastic has a lustful stare on her face. Because there’s this one guy down at the playground who’s been picking on me something fierce, and if I was married to someone who knew the USAF death-stare I’m sure he’d leave me alone.

  10. Comment by Zed | 11.18.2005 | 3:40 pm

    Fatty,I feel the same way. I don’t know how many attempted entries I’ve deleted over the past two days.


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