Sunday, December 24, 2006


A recent comment and request from one of my readers made me realise that I never posted on how to adjust a front derailleur. This is because none of my rides presently have one of these and I just simply forgot about it. So here we go, excuse the crappy pictures, but with the weather I'm stuck indoors and I haven't figured out how to take good ones inside....yet.

The front derailleur is a simple thingamabob that is springloaded and pulled by a cable to push the chain on the gear you want at the pedals. This how-to applies for 2 and 3 gear chain rings. Once you've adjusted with my method, the middle one should take care of itself on a 3 gear set up.

Before you begin, there are a few things to verify. First, make sure the derailleur cage is aligned with the chainring gears. Second, make sure the height is correct by pushing the cage with your hand towards you to make sure that it doesn't hit that last gear. If you need to move the derailleur, undo the cable and loosen the frame bolt and make the necessary adjustements. There, I just saved you at least 45 minutes of yelling, screaming and swearing!

Next, don't bother doing any adjustements before removing the cable from the derailleur. Let's start fresh. At the same time, verify that the cable is moving freely. Cables that are housed in a sleeve up to the derailleur sometimes have a nasty habit of jamming. What happens is that the sleeve's opening points upward on the derailleur and invites water in to deposit itself in there and marries it and the cable with a generous amount of rust. Replace cable and sleeve if that is the case.

Ok, derailleur moves freely by pulling it with your hands and the cable moves freely. Now keep the cable disconnected and put the shifter in the lowest gear position. Your chain should rest on the gear closest to the frame on the chainring(that's the name of the gears attached to the pedals)if you turn the pedals.

Next, shift the rear derailleur to the lowest gear in the back. That's the gear closest to the wheel spokes. Now look at the clearance between the inside of the front derailleur cage(closest to the frame) and see if you have a small gap between the chain and the cage. If the chain is rubbing on it or the gap is too wide, take a screwdriver and adjust the "L" screw on top of the derailleur. Turn the screw until you are satisfied with the results. Clockwise should push the cage outward and counterclockwise inward.

Now to verify that your gap is not too big, leave the chain on the lowest gear on the chainring and shift the rear derailleur to the highest gear, that's the one closest to the frame. If your adjustement is good, the chain shouldn't rub on the outside wall of the front derailleur cage.

Lastly, reinstall the cable and with keeping the chain on the highest gear in the back, shift the front derailleur to the biggest chainring while turning the pedals. Did the chain completely come off the chainring? That's because the front derailleur cage went too far and pushed the chain off. You will need to turn the adjustement screw "H" clockwise until the derailleur stops just before pushing the chain off the chainring. The reverse is true if the cage doesn't go far enough and the chain refuses to go on the last chainring.

That's it.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.


Monday, December 18, 2006


Does that look yummy or what? Yes, the delicious Cheeseburger. I am no nutrionnist and I don't claim anything to that effect. So if you are about to fire an email to me(xddorox@gmail.com)to tell me in your best politically correct tone that I'm dead wrong about this, don't bother and go back to sipping your Caffeine Free Diet Coke(brown coloring in water!).

To me, a cheeseburger is the best food I can have in the middle of a long ride. I mean just check out what's in there! You have meat, dairy, bread and vegetables! Throw in a full flegde Coke and you have all the food groups. :) Mind you, you have to take it with all the trimmings. Also, I don't think that those winnie cheeseburgers from the golden arches qualify. I mean Burger King and Wendy's make a decent one, but the true Cheeseburger is made at one of those Mom and Pop restaurants. What better way to live the local experience when you travel than to eat in one of those nice little restaurants.

There's nothing that picks me up like a good and juicy Cheeseburger. The alternative of one of those bird food bars just doesn't cut it for me. Who cares about all of those calories, you will burn them off. Riding a bike at 65% VO2 max burns fat, so you don't have to go all out to keep your nice trim body or prevent that belly from growing out of proportion. Don't trust me on this, I have no clue of what I'm talking about! (Except for that 65% VO2 max thing, that's true, burns fat)

Bottom line is ride for the fun of it and don't take it too seriously. You will reap the benefits anyways.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed!


Sunday, December 10, 2006


This is my Holiday editorial, no how to's but a time to reflect and give thanks.

Christmas time has a different meaning to different people. This blog being international, I understand that some of you do not celebrate Christmas for various reasons. I myself believe that it is a time of year were we reflect on the year that just past, give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and get together with family and friends. It is also a time to look ahead and plan on where we intend to go on the path of life, helping ourselves and others in the process. Bottom line, it's a week to stop and smell the roses with everybody that's close to you.

This year was great for me because I found this internet tool called the blog. I'll be honest with you that my main goal when I started was egotistical in that I wanted to share my passion of the bicycle with as many people as I could. But then I realised with the feedback that I was getting that this was actually helping a lot of you readers out there and I figured that this could be pretty big. I mean, imagine if somebody in a poor country manages to get a hold of this information and with it can get mobile or learns the trade to feed his family! That would be awsome. My intention remains to share the passion of the bicycle, one of the greatest invention of human kind. I don't intend to get rich in the process, but to get as many of you rolling as possible. If I do make a few bucks out of it, great, I'll consider it a bonus, but that is not my main objective.

I will keep posting as many tips and tricks as I can and show you how I do it. I don't pretend that I know everything or that everything I do is perfect. But I will strive to do my best to inform you, the reader, every chance and post I can. Keep sending me feedbacks, check out the advertisers if they look interesting and get your hands dirty.

Lastly, a thousand thank you's to you the reader of this blog for making it the success that it is. I wish you all a very happy holiday season, health, happiness and prosperity for the new year. Take the time to stop and smell the roses, enjoy life and if you have kids, take the time to hug them and tell them that you love them.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.


p.s. The antlers were not photoshopped in the picture, I actually wore them!


One of the greatest things about this blog is when I get feedback from you, the reader. I received an email from Jose today about his current project inspired by this bike repair blog. Jose is serving with his nations Armed Forces and he is stationned overseas. Yet, he has managed to find a road bike carcass and decided to turn it into a single speed fixed gear bike.

The great thing about bikes, is that their parts are interchangeable from one bike to another. One example is the bottom bracket where the pedal axle resides. In this case, Jose's bike has an English threaded bottom bracket, this setup has not changed in over a hundred years. The only thing he has to worry about is the width of the axle. He will be able to fit a modern sealed bottom bracket on that thing in a snap.

Road bikes are plentiful and cheap. You can locate one in decent shape and rebuilt it as a road racer, touring bike or, like in this case, a fixed gear bike. One strategy that I encourage when doing projects like these is to start with what you have and buy the least parts to get you rolling. This way, you'll find out if the ride is suitable for you without spending too much cash. If the ride is good, buy your upgrades as you can afford them. If it doesn't work out, you won't have spent a whole lot to find out. But don't throw that bike away, keep it for those parts!

Jose will keep me posted with his progress and I will put up the pictures as I receive them. In the meantime, feel free to do the same and send me your pics of your projects if you want them posted here at: xddorox@gmail.com

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Ok, I usually post about stuff that can be useful where ever you are on the planet, but I'm making an exception. What the heck, this my blog after all! Anyways, I came across this great website that permits you to find anything on a map, in the US. I mean not just businesses, but clubs as well!

The site is mapmuse.com and permits you to find stuff and presents it to you on a map interface. This is great if you plan to go somewhere and want to know what is around the area that you will be visiting. It's also good if you want to know what's available around you if you live in the United States.

It's pretty simple to use. Not having a map of Canada available on the site, I decided to find a bikeshop owned by distant relatives in New Bedford Mass. I went on the site and bicycle shops where already listed in the "most viewed" list. That's too easy and there is no garanty that bike shops will always be on that list. So I decided to see if finding the bike shop was easy enough the hard way. It was.

1. Click in the "Sports and recreation" category and "bike shops" is the second one on the list. You will also notice that "cycling clubs" is on that same page in the 7th position.

2. Once you have clicked on "bike shops" it will show you a map of the US and will give you a few choices to do your search. You can search by address if you have that information, by region/state or by city/metro area. In this case, I clicked on New Bedford MA.

3. BAM! There is the map and there's the bike shop. Very clear and precise. But the fun doesn't end there...

4. Click on the "B" box and you will get all the information related to that location.

This site is great when you have a general idea or no clue of what you are looking for in any area of the US. Now if only this thing was available for the entire planet. Wouldn't that be great? This website is a great way to plan a trip to anywhere. It can find you a lot more than just a bike shop. I guess I'll be busy playing around in there for a little while...

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.



I was walking in downtown Montreal today and couldn't help but notice this bike. It was locked with a proper U type lock, but there was enough space left between those bars to let the Titanic pass through! Some thief could easily put a spreading tool in there and pop that lock. But the one element that got my attention was that empty seat tube. The owner chose wisely to remove the seat, that is probably held there by a quick release mechanism, but didn't realise that he left his frame open to the elements and the most sinister of enemies, RUST.

Rust is that sneaky chemical reaction that makes unprotected metal react with air and moisture to eat away slowly at your pride and joy. The inside of the frame is not painted or protected in anyway against the elements. If you have to remove your seat, make sure that you cover it in order to avoid water or moisture to get in there. Once rust starts snacking on the inside of your frame, you're screwed. I had a beautiful cantilever frame cruiser snap a downtube on me because of this(Rest In Pieces "Carbait").

The outside of the frame is also vulnerable to the elements. That paint can get knicked and scratched and the exposed metal will eventually rust. Buy a small amount of touch up paint and do those touch-ups as soon as you find them. If you already have some rust showing, make sure to sand it off before applying the paint. Painting over rust will only mask it until it shows it's ugly face again in a very near future.

Remember that when rust shows up, it's almost as hard to get rid of as your in-laws. ;)

Til next time ride safe and Godspeed.