Friday, March 25, 2005

Doh! (and I love pin spanners)

It turns out I already have a 14mm socket wrench. It came with a bike toolset. I forgot because I’ve probably never used it. Anyway, I e-mailed Rivendell and told them to cancel that part of the order (I also ordered CDs of all their back Reader issues). I don't think it will be a problem.

Here’s the wrench (the 14mm side is facing away from the camera. Of course, it still won’t work on the kickstand nut because the seat-post tube is in the way.

I did, however, check the crank-arm nuts (important part that connects the crank arm to the bottom bracket). The nuts were turn-with-your-hand loose. Yikes. I knew I didn’t tighten them well (for lack of a 14mm socket wrench). But having one of those fall off would be dangerous, to say the least.

Getting to these nuts allowed me to use one of my favorite tools, the pin spanner! I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do. It’s primary purpose is to take off old-style bottom brackets. But it’s also needed for screwing off and on the crank-arm dust caps. (For light-weight duty, of course, you could use spoke ends or very small allen wrenchs. But that's no fun.)

This pin spanner is surprisingly versatile. Though I can’t think of any examples offhand, I know I’ve used this tool countless times for things unrelated to bicycles. And you can be pretty certain that when a strange little adjustable two-pinned contraption is what you need, nothing else will do. And as I like to say, “There’s nothing like a good tool properly misused.”

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