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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 11-30-02, 04:57 AM   #1
trmcgeehan
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I talk to the dead!

You're gonna think I'm crazy, but here goes! I am a lousy mechanic, and always getting in trouble when I try to save money and fix my bike myself. I can't even screw a bolt on straight. But whenever I get my bike apart, and I don't know what to do, I call upon a gentleman who died three years ago, and he tells me what I have to do. His name is Smokey Yunick,and he was a crackerjack NASCAR mechanic back in the 1960's. He had many inventions, but was most famous for coming up with a 7/8ths Chevelle, which he raced at Daytona with Mario Andretti and cleaned house. This was before NASCAR got smart and applied templates to all entries to make sure they were stock. Can you imagine reducing a whole car by 1/8th? This cut the air flow over the car, and made it considerably faster, but you couldn't tell just by looking at it that it was smaller all over. Later on, when NASCAR started using templates, Smokey asked the inspectors if he could take their Chevelle template back to his garage to make sure he was legal. Stupidly, they agreed. So good old Smokey took the template back to his garage. Instead of changing the car body, he changed the template. He was able to pass inspection this way.
Anyway, I have Smokey's photo in my garage shop, and whenever I have a mechanical situation on my bike, I say out loud: "SMOKEY-- HELP! WHAT DO I DO NOW? And I'll be damned if I don't get an answer that works. And Smokey doesn't know a damn thing about bikes -- he's just a mechanical wizzard.
I go to church every Sunday, and call myself at least a marginal Christian. And I know talking to the dead is not a Christian principle. But it works! Next time you're in a mechanical bind, ask Smokey Yunick to lend a hand. He's a good guy (in spirit), and will give you the help you need. (I told you I was crazy)
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Old 11-30-02, 07:40 AM   #2
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I remember reading Smokey's column in Mechanix Illustrated (?) magazine when I was a kid, it was always informative and entertaining. When I'm having mechanical trouble, I talk to myself, and it isn't pretty! Maybe talking to Smokey would be an improvement!
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Old 12-01-02, 08:21 AM   #3
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Hmm. If Smokey fails you, you can always try consulting a live mechanic.

My favorite Smokey Yunick anecdote: Having inspected one of his cars, NASCAR officials inform him his car has 8 violations. Smokey, miffed at their findings, says "make that 9," jumps in the car, fires it up, and drives it away. NASCAR had removed the gas tank during the inspection!
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Old 12-01-02, 09:06 AM   #4
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Smoky Yunick once went to Daytona with a 1969 Chevelle (Malibu??), with the fenders covering the rear wheels. It gave him quite an aerodynamic advantage, but was going to make tyre changing during the race a real problem. Other owners complained, but Smokey pointed out that the rulebook said he could cut out the fenders if he wanted to, and he said that he didn't want to. He ran with it, and the car qualified very high.
As soon as the car qualified, he rolled it into the paddock, and started cutting metal from around the wheels. Other owners complained. Smokey pointed out that the rule books said he could cut them out, but didn't say when he had to.......
Seriously, though, Smokey was a good mechanic, but some of his ideas showed little to no knowlege of engineering principles. He once had a car running with a 3-cylinder GM engine (cut down from a 4), with a turbocharger impeller stirring up the intake, and no radiator. He claimed that it got 80 mpg (US). Probably did-until the engine melted......
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Old 12-02-02, 04:30 AM   #5
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I am 61. I think I remember that you are around 63. Is this what I have to look forward to?

Cheers...Gary
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