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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bicycle repair and Murphy’s Law



While starting the tear down on my build off bike project I immediately noticed the rusted out seat post and figured that it was probably welded to the frame with rust and that it would most likely never budge from where it sat.

Hallelujah’s were heard and Angels were singing in the sky when it came right out of the seat tube with no effort after the retaining bolt was loosened. As awesome as it may sound, this was not a good sign. Sure enough Murphy was just laughing hard when trying to continue the disassembly of the bike, everything else on the damn thing is locked tight with rust. Hours of fun will be spent with Jigaloo, prayers, swearing, blood and bruised knuckles taking everything apart.

Over the years I have encountered Murphy many times while fixing and riding bikes and I will share some of my findings with you:

  • You always lose the exact size socket wrench that you need for a 5 minute job and spend 1 hour looking for a replacement. ( I have three 15mm sockets to counter that for removing wheels).
  • If you always carry tools, a pump and a spare tube, you will have a break down or flat miles away, on a rainy day when you decide to leave all that behind because nothing ever really happens.
  • A pedal will fall off in the middle of nowhere.
  • The minute you take off your work gloves to work on something that isn’t dirty, you will touch something that is filthy and end up spending half an hour cleaning your hands.
  • Out of the hundreds of bolts that you have, not one fits the axle of that perfect wheel you just found.
  • You will have to remove those grips again because you forgot to install the shifter.
  • You have a spare tube and ready to fix your flat and realize that you bought a %&&?%$ Presta valve tube. Of course, you do not have the adapter.
  • You’re ready to start a tune up, the music is perfect, all your tools are accounted for, all the parts are lined up, they are all the correct ones, you have a decent amount of free time ahead, you are in a fantastic Zen state of mind and your wife calls you because she ran out of gas.
  • You always have free time for riding when it rains.
  • That perfect vintage frame as an odd size bottom bracket that doesn’t exist anymore.
  • Front brakes always work better than the rear ones. (Actually that’s the Law of physics but I still feel it should be included.)
  • Something will go out of wack on your bike after a big repair or tune up on a big ride.
  • No tools will be available for that particular fix.
  • You will find a better looking helmet two days after buying the one you taught looked cool after weeks of research.
  • When disassembling a bike and everything comes off without any effort, the seat post will be seized.

I could go on even more but I’ll keep some for a future post. As far as seized seat post goes, there is no miracle solution. Loosening chemicals, intense heat from a torch, brute physical force and a few prayers might help. Sometimes there is no hope. The worst cases are when you have 2 different metals touching each other like an Aluminium seat post in a steel frame or vice versa. They will oxidize and effectively weld each other.


Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

3 comments:

soundwave13c said...

OMG everything you just said is s true!

Pidur16 said...

You could do a standup comic act with those.

Anyone that has ever worked on a bike, knows that everything you said is so true and so funny when you look it in the way you did.

Thanks for the laughs !

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