180302-Life’s Maintenance

On my last trip (around the Irish Sea), the bearings on my front fork failed. The bicycle became almost unrideable, prompting a layover in Newcastle (Northern Ireland) while the bicycle underwent repairs. The bearing casing came out in little tiny pieces.  Since then the bicycle has had a myriad of smaller issues needing repair, and I haven’t known what I didn’t know was wrong. Today I uncharacteristically took the bicycle into the shop. On my list were:

  • Replacing a small broken plastic piece in the shifter
  • Extra play in the right/front shifter
  • Stiffness in the shifting in the front and problems with the cable housing
  • New brake pads (front and back)
  • Grinding noises coming from the rear axle
  • Concerns about wear on the rear wheel

I love the wheels on this bicycle (Mavic Open Pro), with no issues since I bought the bicycle back in 2006. I had many problems with the wheels on my previous bicycle (at one point truing my wheels every night!). The Mavics haven’t even been trued since I got them. I carry spare spokes since cycle tourists often break spokes, but I’ve never needed them. At least part of that durability can be attributed to my obsession with lightweight gear. However, I’ve started to notice wear on the rims, and a grinding noise. The grinding noise is likely grit in the bearings, but TWICE before I’ve pulled a wheel apart to find I’d broken the axle! On my previous bicycle I wore through the rear rim. According to the tech it looks like I’ve done that again.

I also need a new bicycle saddle. I painfully learned on my last tour that my most recent replacement saddle is NOT the right saddle for me.  The previous time that I replaced the saddle I went through a half-dozen before I finally found one I was happy with. For now, I’ve reinstalled the previous battered saddle, and I gird myself to begin that quest anew.

The other integral cycling component I’ve struggled to replace are my cycling shoes. My beloved pair of Cannondales I abandoned in Ireland as a lost cause. I’ve still got the Shimanos I crossed Europe with, but they make my feet hurt at about 80 kilometers (I found myself stuffing toilet paper in the toes).

All of those gear items are very cyclist-specific. Looking over my gear list I don’t see much else I need to replace. I will need a few maps, once I figure out exactly where I’m going this year!

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