Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The $70 pothole?

So much bike work, not enough biking. So around midnight I decided to enjoy my new moustache handlebars and bike around Central Park (one of the nice things about living in New York City, at least when the main loop road isn’t open to cars).

Coming off the bridge, on 60th Street right around Madison Avenue, I hit a pothole. A bad one. I saw it, it was small but deep, but I was too close to swerve. I probably could have jumped it, but for some reason I froze and didn’t. I hit it, hard. A half block later, as soon as used my front brake, I realized that the impact dented my front rim. Not horribly, but noticably. The wheel is still round, but on the left side of the rim there is a little indent It will bother me every time I use the front brakes. Beyond that the rim isn't damaged. It went ever-so-slightly out of true, but nothing I couldn't fix. And the other side of the rim is fine.

I don’t know anything about hammering out rims. And, as I just found out on-line, this is a $70 rim.

I didn’t built this wheel. It has radial spoking (and every fourth nipple is brass, just for the hell of it). I wonder if the rim would be OK if it were triple-crossed? My guess is no. But I still wish the spokes weren’t radial.

Then when I got home I swamped handle bar stems on all my bikes. The new handlebars made the handlebars too high on the Screamin' Salmon. That and I decided to turn the bars around, so that the they angled up. This way the brake is better positioned, more towards the bottom. And Katie's bike really needed a higher stem. So I took the high handlebar stem off the Screamin' Salmon and put it on the Del Ray. I took the Del Ray stem and put it on the Bianchi. I took the low Bianchi stem and put it on the Salmon. I like the low Bianchi stem for one reason: it was two screws and you can take the bars off without taking everything off the bars. But I couldn't put the new handlebars on without taking everything off. Maybe it's for the better as the old handlebars had duct tape, and I really need an excuse to redo them with proper handlebar tape on them. The handlebar stem shall be the excuse.

But then I learned that Bianchi handlebars (and most Italian road bikes) are 26mm and regular handlebars are 25.6mm. Small difference, but it matters. So I had to order a shim for the Salmon and a new stem ($40) for the Bianchi. Jeezelouise! The old stem from the Del Ray went into the closet, where it will sit for years before being thrown out.

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