3 Mar 2014

3rd March 2014 [Spring cleaning!]

Monday 3rd 39F, 4C, windy, brightening as the sun rises. Sunshine and 30mph gusts promised today. Cool, watery sunshine for my walk. Skylarks were being silly in a field very close to the road. Presumably a mating ritual. I can't imagine it is a territorial scrap with a vast prairie to fight over. 

Blowing a sideways gale by the time I left on the trike. I was hanging over the upwind wheel to stay on when the crosswind coincided with adverse camber. No protective hedges, as usual. A huge tractor with enormous double rear wheels on wide spacers overtook me. I was worried something would come the other way because he was 1 1/2 main road lanes wide! My mirror is a lifesaver on every trip. Only 12 miles. I'm not being allowed out again today.

The council is delivering huge, green, plastic, wheely bins for increased recycling of refuse by conscripted tax payers. [Us!]  I thought I'd add an outboard motor and take up people smuggling. Except that we live too far from the sea to make it worthwhile. Then I thought it could make a hot tub for the greenhouse. But the <cough> recycled plastic might not be very healthy if a low pthalate bath is one's intention. In the end I decided to lay it on its side and use it as a two trike storage shed. I wonder if they do padlocks for recumbent wheely bins?

Tuesday 4th 38F, 3C, heavily overcast, grey and almost perfectly still. Did I mention the all-pervading greyness? Possibility of light showers. Super. I'd better take those undersized gloves back. I did a square figure of eight on the spray tracks for my walk.

Wind light going. More of a headwind coming back. No problem swapping the gloves for a new pair. I bought a 10sp Tiagra chain while I was there. 21 miles.

Some of the afternoon was spent stripping the Trykit of its wheels, rear axles, chain, gears, chainset, cassette etc. A good spray with (highly toxic) engine cleaner loosened the worst of the gunk. With the bare trike up on the Lidl work stand I spent some time polishing the tarnished, silver solder joints with ScotchBrite strips. I have hardly attended to the joints for months so cannot really complain about a little surface discoloration. A quick polish and they come up as bright as the palest brass. The stainless steel just takes on a bit more polish and always looks well.

I suppose I ought to have replaced the cassette to get a bit more life out of the new chain. I'll strip the cogs and give it a further clean and then decide if it has any life left in it. I have already stripped the triple chainset and cleaned it thoroughly. The teeth on the TA alloy rings still look good. Since I spend most of my time on the middle ring I could just replace that one.

I hung the old chain against the new one, as usual, on pins on the door post. The old chain had stretched a full link longer at the bottom compared with the new one alongside! It always seems a waste to replace the chain while there's still any winter salt left on the roads. 

Anybody else would have kept their trike quite a lot cleaner. Particularly if they are social cyclists and suffer a bit of teasing about the filthy state of their machine. I am assuming that the weather is unlikely to return to winter now. So the roads are unlikely to be sprayed with salt again this year. I think Denmark's winter 2013/14 has just gone down as the 5th warmest ever. It was very windy, wetter than usual and almost constantly overcast according to my memory of it. There was hardly any snow to talk about.

Wednesday 5th 39F, 4C, grey, overcast, still. I had better put the trike back together rather than going for  a walk. The images show the results of my labours. I stripped the Trykit 2WD double free-hub, cleaned and re-greased it. No sign of wear yet. The pawls and carriers still look like new. I shortened the chain by one link over the previous one. Checking before I did that I could still use the largest chainwheel and rear sprocket. Even if I never use this combination deliberately, the results of careless selection could be unpleasant out on the road a long way from nowhere. There was still a bit of slack left in the rear changer cage.

I stripped the rear changer cage and pulleys and cleaned them thoroughly before refitting the changer. The ShiftMate is working well and can be seen in the images above. Its smart finish seems to be able to survive saltey roads. I have tried running the cable inside and outside the axle reinforcing loops and prefer it to run outside. Sometimes it looks as if the ShiftMate is quite close to the reinforcing loops but it never touches in any gear combination.

The Ultegra cassette looks a bit stained but it is still in fair condition after being stripped and cleaned with a toothbrush and engine cleaner. Followed by a rinse with water. I need to find a way to keep the Trykit alloy hubs clean. I used loops of purple suede leather on the Higgins. A poor old office stapler wasn't man enough to penetrate two layers of suede so I punched and pop riveted them instead. I used a small nut to take the expansion of the pop rivet. The hope is that the extra weight will provide slightly more friction to polish the alloy hubs. I just hope the nuts don't rattle on the spokes. If they do I'll just take them off and re-rivet.

The handlebars had become tipped up over time so I lowered them to level on the tops leading to the brake hoods.

I had to repair the Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag as well. The rivets had pulled out of one corner reinforcement and the self tapping screw had pulled out of the stiffening dowel. Probably the weight of the Abus U-lock I keep in the side pocket. I drilled the dowel and used screws, washers and nuts instead. Being careful to shorten and smooth the bare threaded section beyond the nuts inside the bag. This was to avoid damaging anything carried in the bag. I would have preferred stainless steel screws but had nothing in the right size in stock.

It is just after lunch now and everything is finally back together. Off we, jolly well, go. I wish I could say the cleanup had caused a considerable increase in speed, but alas no. Chain tension is far better than with the last one. The gear indexing needs re-adjusting. I played with the adjusters but it still wasn't right. Up on the work stand again when I got home. Another fiddle and it seems better. 20 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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