My Kingdom for a Screw


This is a 4mm x 12mm machine screw.   It is similar to the one that is found in my Shimano M505 pedals.   These screws are used to adjust the clip tension.   I had lost one of them as a result of falling off of the mountain bike way too many times.

But I do like clipless pedals, and now with a few miles on the new Trek I can say that the stock platforms are a bit small for my fat feet, so I thought it might be prudent to put the old SPDs on the new bike.  I’ll just run down to the local bike shop and get a replacement screw.  Easy!

Except apparently, if you walk into a bike shop with these


and ask for a replacement screw, it is akin to asking to see the the snipe holding Sasquatch’s holy grail. “Special order,” “Those are old pedals!” and about 100 different variations of the same theme.

So I went to the local hardware store, pedal in hand, and found one that matched. Total cost: $0.74. I could have gone with the chrome version, but that was going to cost $4.50. For one screw!  Seriously!

The good news is that the pedal is now complete. The bad news is that the guys that assembled the bike really wedged the stock pedals in tight, and I can’t get them off. Or at least without risking breaking something, most likely my fingers. So the new bike goes into the shop on Friday for it’s post-purchase adjustment, and I’ll have them mount them at that point.

Pedals. Bane of my existence.


First Rocketship Ride

Today was the first commute day on the new bike.  It wasn’t  nearly as painful as I thought, but it is mostly downhill and I still have to ride it home.


First impressions.

It gets sideways in loose gravel quicker than fat kids eat cake. I’m coming off MTBs with 2.25s on ’em, so I suppose that’s normal and skinny tires are something to which I’ll just have to adapt. The rear derailleur needs adjustment. It’s missing when moving to the smaller cogs. The shop said they wanted to see the bike after about 10 hours of ride time to adjust brakes and shifty bits, so I’ll let them know that then.

It was a dream on pavement, though. It felt like pushing nothing at all. The saddle and bars were comfortable, although I found my right hand falling asleep. Having a whole lot of options on the bars was nice. I rode most of it down in the drops and some of it up on the horns. I’ll figure out what works, and then do that. I also need to invest in some good gloves.

Nothing on Earth is better than hydraulic disk brakes. A little bit too much play in the brake levers, but I can have the shop adjust that, too.

The integrated shifters are gonna be a learning thing for me. I’ve always had triggers for lots of single track quick shifts, so the paddles are going to take a little getting used to. Mostly I need to lighten up on my touch. A couple of times I engaged the brake when shifting, which is a drag (heh!) because when you’re as slow as I am, momentum is everything.

The stock platforms are small and I have really fat feet so I’m going to put my old M505 SPDs on it, as soon as I find a replacement adjustment screw for one of ’em. Which is akin to the Holy Grail, apparently.

Overall, I’m stoked.

Almost Like Christmas (a.k.a. Thanks, Honey!)

As I mentioned earlier, I was eyeballing some of the nifty new bikes Trek has in their lineup.  Now I have one.


The thing is about 10 lbs lighter than the Gary Fisher, and feels like pedaling nothing at all. I’m riding it into work tomorrow, which will be the longest ride I’ve done (15 miles) in about 10 years.

I’m kind of excited.

A Technological Interlude

I’ve been riding a lot of little rides after work, five milers towing The Boss, and my wife (The Other Boss) said she wanted to ride with us. So I took a trip down to the local Trek store in Tukwila (fabulous people there, buy stuff from them) to better evaluate the state of bikes for women in their mid-*cough*’s that haven’t been on a bike since puberty and haven’t had a lot of physically strenuous activity, well, ever.

The state of technology in bikes today is pretty amazing.  The last bike I bought was 13 years ago.   All aluminum frame and hydraulic disk brakes.  Fancy!    Now they have wireless derailleurs, internally routed cabling, disk brakes on road bikes, carbon fiber everything, asymmetrical chain rings, USB chargeable LED lights, “eBikes” (electric mopeds trying to pass), and of course, an app for damn near everything.   They had a $16,000 road bike in there that I swear came right off the space shuttle.   Most importantly, Trek has a line of bikes set up specifically for women.   Wider saddles, narrower risers, etc.. – which is exactly what I was looking for, and good for Trek for that kind of outreach.   The kid at the shop spent about 45 minutes with me, so I figured the least I could do is buy a bike from  him.  The next day, after a long search for the perfectly color coordinated bottle clip and matching helmet,  The Boss’ Mommy came home with this.


It’s even got a spot to hook up some kind of Bluetooth gizmo to the chain stay.
I have no idea what, but by God, that bike is Bluetooth ready. So she’s been riding it on our little after work five milers, and crushing it, for the record.

Which brings me to my existing bike, an early Ought’s Gary Fisher.  A good bike, but I rode it pretty hard for a while, then ignored it for a while.  When I pulled it off the shelf at the beginning of this little rebuild project, I bled the front brake, put some new tires and a new chain on it, and called it good.  But the old girl needs work.


My front derailleur has decided it is now a de-chainer, and when it’s not throwing chains, it is refusing to drop to the small ring, and if I have  the chain on the middle ring, it refuses to hop to the large ring unless the bike is up on the work rack.   If I’m riding it, I’m basically riding whatever font ring the Bike Gods select for me.    The bottom bracket sounds like a broken beer bottle being ground up in a gravel pile.  The front brake bled well and is firm and progressive but the pads are rattling around in the caliper.  The rear brake has more air in it than your dad at a bar-b-que.   I’m afraid it just may have popped a leak somewhere as I can’t seem to bleed it out no matter how much I work on it.  My chain rings all need replaced, as does the cassette.  The rims, which were never all that to begin with, are starting to pop spokes.  They’re true, though, as I bought a truing stand and find that truing wheels is kind of therapeutic.  So I have that going for me.

So in summary, the Gary Fisher has become a bit of a hooptie.  I’ll be able to keep it running enough to get me around Maple Valley and down to the lake, but it will be a while, if ever, before I jaunt off on any  more epic trails with it.  Which means it is going to take some time away from the 7000 frame that started all of this.  Which means a delay in getting that bike roadworthy so I can ride it to work.  Which was the whole damn point.   However, after having borne witness to what is available on the market today,  riding a 25 year old Trek 7000 Frankenbike frame 30 miles every other day or so seems a whole lot less appealing that one of those shiny new Trek gravel bikes I was spying while picking up The Other Boss’ new ride.

And she said that’s OK.  Which is reason #2338122 why I love her.


Progress and Other Bits

I was excited to open up my Amazon Box of Delight, as it had my wedges inside.  My first though was…  I thought they’d be bigger.

IMG_20170817_165017.jpg But they did the trick, I think, anyway. The end of the story is that the bottom bracket is out. The middle part of the story does not involve a few gentle taps with the wedges, forcing the crank off the bottom bracket, though.  That didn’t happen even after I had them fully engaged.   Instead, it involved a huge pounding of wedges between the the chainring and the bottom bracket until they were seized together, allowing me to just rotate the whole thing out.


So the only thing left on the frame at this point is the headset crown race and bearing cups. I’m hesitant to pull them because I lack the tools to both pull them out and seat new ones. But I probably will.

The good news is that I can start prepping the frame for paint. Which means pulling all the stickers off the bike. I hate stickers, generally. I have some on my guitar case (Wintergrass peanut throwers know what I’m talkin’ ’bout), but that’s about it. Heat guns and scraping are not fun. But I want it down to bare aluminum when I put the paint on, so I gotta do what I gotta do. I’ll figure out what to do with the headset leftovers while I pull the paint off.

I also discovered a bit of frame damage on the chainstay. It looks like chainring grinding, which is no big deal. I’ll sand it out.


And finally….


Crank Thread Wedgie

After a long consultation with Professor Internet, specifically the fine folks in the Bike Mechanics forum at I have reached the conclusion that the particular thread difficulties is as a result of it being stripped and then re-tapped.  So my handy dandy crank pullin’ tool isn’t going to help.  Alternate solutions are needed.

I considered everything from angle grinders to prying it off with a screwdriver, but finally settled on a pair of drill chuck removal wedges, a thing prior to yesterday I didn’t even know was a thing.   Amazon is delivering them today.


I think with these, and a few taps with a kinetic force transference device (seen below) they should pop right off.


The only disappointment is that I had planned on keeping the crank set around, but that’s out the window now.

Crank Thread Difficulties

Well this is odd.  It appears the threading is different on each arm of the crank set!  These are Shimano Exage 175mm cranks, for the record.


I will have to ponder what to do about this, as my “universal” crank tool apparently isn’t.

The Inspection

I finally go the 7000 frame up on the rack so I could take a closer look at it.  I didn’t have high hopes that I could salvage anything from it, and after a closer look, I’m pretty sure that’s going to be the case. That’s alright, though. The immediate goal here is to get the bike torn down and prepped for a shiny new coat of paint.

Here she is, in all her purple glory.

IMG_20170814_162103.jpgShe sat in various states of decay in a number of dank basements, garages, and driveways for a number of years, so it didn’t surprise me to find any number of rough spots.  The aluminum risers were specked with rot, there are a couple of places on the frame where the paint is completely gone and the frame is roughing up.


Paint off the frame


Rot on the riser

The drive train seemed to be in OK shape for a 25 year old ride, but I’m still tossing it all out and replacing it with something newer. Which is going to be true for almost everything on this rig.

I struggle with “Hey, I can use that someday” disease, so it’s important that I remember exactly what it is I’m doing here.  My dad was an absolute hoarder and when he died I collected a bunch of his tools.  You can see some of it in the top photograph underneath the bench.  There’s a scroll saw and a chop saw – I am the world’s worst carpenter – and an automotive analyzer for cars that have carburetors and distributors and rotors – I am a pretty good mechanic, but damn – a giant pile of miscellaneous box wrenches, ratchets, sockets, and other doo-dads and tchotchke that has great sentiment, but no other value at all.

Part of doing this is to unload a lot of it.  I’m committed to one set of wrenches, one set of sockets, and the absolute bare minimum of carpentry tools.

But I digress… Back to the components.  The chain ring is warn out.  You can see that the big ring needs some new teeth.  The rear derailleur is pretty rotted out (as is the front).  Most of the components look like they’re on a 25 year old bike that spent much of it’s life in a basement.

IMG_20170814_154834.jpg   IMG_20170814_154743.jpg

So the final verdict is I’m stripping it down to the frame and fork, and tossing the rest.

So stand by for that.