5 Apr 2015

4th April 2015 The weakest link is... a broken cable.

Saturday 4th 29F, -2C, bright sunshine, frost on the grass, icy skin on the puddles, light winds. Within a few yards of starting my walk I had already seen a Blackcap, Chaffinches, Fieldfares, Greenfinches and Yellowhammers. My inner knee joints are hurting. It went away as I walked and then returned as I headed home. An ache above and below the kneecap is usually an indicator of wrong saddle height. I don't have a simple cause for inner joint pain. In fact I don't remember ever having this problem before. Perhaps it was chasing that MTBer yesterday? Or jumping across wide, flooded, drainage ditches in the woods? Or the wrong saddle?

I rode into town with a head-crosswind hampering my speed. Where I visited the LBS for spare spokes and gear inner cables. Having finished searching for non-existent stock of supermarket special offers I headed home. Only for the rear changer cable to break inside the lever. Leaving me on the 11-tooth sprocket with several steep hills to climb! There I was on the edge of town, 9 miles from home and hopping from one foot to another beside the main road. No wonder the indexing was becoming awry!

I managed to remove the frayed cable. However, I could not thread the new inner into the outer under the handlebar tape. The fine, inner plastic hose had collapsed. Without a suitably sharp point to open up the end I could not progress. So I tensioned the broken inner cable which was still attached to the rear changer. Because of the 2WD system I had to invert the trike to be able to turn the pedals. Moving the changer to bottom gear by hand and then tying off the inner cable with lots of half hitches left me in 2nd gear. Though not for very long. The cable slipped a little at a time until I was in 3rd, then 4th, 5th and finally 6th gear! Now add in a nasty cross-headwind a load of shopping and the Vetta saddle to impede me further. I'm afraid it's back to the Brooks or nothing! The Vetta SL was so promising for a while. 19 miles.

Spent a couple of hours pm attending to the trike. I used an awl to clear the inner cable hose. I do not like Campagnolo's method of seating the bare outer in a moulded hole in the brake hood. It really ought to have a ferrule to contain the longitudenal wires of the sheath. Loosening the lever bolt is the only way to gather all the splayed ends of the outer to fit back into the hole. To try and improve chain wrap and bring the top jockey pulley nearer the cassette I added a noodle to the rear loop of cable outer. Gear changing and indexing is now back to normal. There was a glitch in mid cable replacement when I disovered the original nipple was hiding inside the lever. I was sure it had fallen out when I had inverted the trike earlier. BTW: Remember to always click the lever into top gear before swapping cables or the new cable will not thread correctly. In fact it will be completely impossible! The ratchet rotates a drum with a hole through it for the cable and a seat for the nipple.

Getting the lost nipple out of the hollow Halo rim was time consuming and had to be repeated several times. The tyre and tube had to be removed first to gain access to the rim tape. Which had to be peeled back to where the spoke had broken. Even the valve on the inner tube was corroded into the tight fitting hole in the rim. I had to use a plastic tyre lever [very gently] to press the valve back out. I then used a taper reamer to take a light cut on the edges of the valve hole to reduce its tightness.

Starting the nipple on the new spoke proved difficult because of the very deep recess. I ended up using the same awl as earlier to hold the nipple. The point was simply jammed lightly in the nipple bore. Allowing it to be held safely and lowered into the rim bed while the thread was started on the spoke deep inside the hollow rim. Once a few threads had been safely caught I could use a screwdriver on the slotted head for more speed. Finally I could employ the spoke key on the squared nipple body to bring it up to proper tension. "Pang-pong-ping-ping-ping."

I swapped the Vetta saddle for the familar B17 "Special" after a little judicious tensioning on the nose nut. My Brooks has been laced to hold the skirts in but has still sagged a little over time. I best like the B17 when it has just broken in. After that it gets too out of shape and the cantle plate rises into unwanted prominence. Plus the depression in the middle of the saddle makes the nose rise relative to the spine. So it attacks from both ends. I am tempted by the hype to try a C17 Cambium but baulk at the high price. I would prefer it to be ventilated too. Rubber mattresses are supposed to keep the damp in!

I had to move the Diims security unit back inside the Brooks again. The B17 rails are much closer together at the front than the Vetta. Requiring greater effort to hide the Diims unit using zip-ties. It is important that the unit is not crushed by the rider's weight repeatedly depressing the saddle cover. There isn't much room inside the nose of a Brooks and the saddle clamp has to be cleared to allow an optimum for-and-aft position. There really isn't anywhere else on a trike [or bike] where the Diims unit can be safely fitted without it standing out like a sore thumb. Even dressing the zip-ties to hide them as much as possible takes time and careful trimming. Once tightened they can then be turned on the saddle rails to hide them better. I used medium weight black ties to ensure a stealthy installation.

Sunday 5th 26-50F, -3+10C. Another bright morning with frost on the grass. N-westerly winds forecast to be light earlier on. My knee pain has gone again. Where shall we go today? Only an hour's walk today.

After early coffee I headed north into the wind. I compenated for the extra weight of the Brooks by removing the rack and fitting the Junior. The traffic was much busier than on good Friday. Having reached  Bogense on the north coast I pottered around the harbour and then headed home again. Chatted for a while to a local cyclist out training before he turned off for home. I worked my way further south west and covered almost the same ground as on Friday. Did a little shopping on the last leg.

The Brooks was okay but felt strangely nose down. Though it wasn't. I always check with the level when fitting a saddle. My hands actually went numb on the first leg because of the foreward weight distribution. It improved on the way back and I no longer had to keep pushing myself back. No idea why. Nothing had changed. I stopped at a picnic table on the main road to eat my cheddar sandwich and banana. On Friday the road was almost deserted. Today it was non-stop. A pretty, bright red Ferrari went past with the driver grinning. I smiled too. Well you have to, don't you? 48 miles.  

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