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  1. #1
    Casual Student of C&V J.Oxley's Avatar
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    Victories and Missteps: Tales from My Rediscovery of Biking

    I can hear my daughter outside riding her new (to her) Schwinn Bantam. I know it's her because she can't resist ringing the bell every ten or fifteen seconds, following it up with a laugh or a whoop and a holler. At this point she's pretty easy to pick out whether you can see her or not. I've got some work to do on the bike though; during a cursory cleaning and surface rust removal today I noticed the rear wheel has some wobble to it. Gonna have to pull it apart and fix it. I don't know how to do that.
    Yet.

    Do understand, this is some seriously foreign territory for me. Until a couple of months ago the only time I'd ridden a bike as an adult was when my driver's license was suspended back in '98 or so. I rode for ninety days then gave the bike away when my driving privileges were restored, and that was that. I didn't see riding as fun, or liberating, or even a choice; quite the opposite, really: it was part of my punishment.

    Fast forward fifteen years and here I am, 43 years old and biking several times a week. Voluntarily. Enthusiastically. And loving it. This will be my little spot to document random notes from my journey, both past and present. I hope some part of it is helpful; I have no doubt much of it will be entertaining; maybe some even-newer-than-me rider will find a little bit of inspiration in whatever transpires.

    But for now I've got to go look at the rear wheel on a little red Schwinn.

  2. #2
    Casual Student of C&V J.Oxley's Avatar
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    "How hard can it be?" I asked myself. "It's a coaster brake. Standard kid stuff. Plus I have the interwebs and youtube and exploded diagrams and tools. Let's do it."

    One of the wonderful things about bikes, I'm discovering, is they're not terribly complicated machines. Getting the rear wheel of that old Schwinn apart was a piece of cake; the worst was dealing with about a quart of grease that was the consistency of 10,000-mile-old motor oil. But I got things cleaned up and reassembled and... wait... shouldn't the wheel engage when I pedal forward?

    Tighten things up. Now it's stiff as hell and doesn't coast. Put things back how they ought to be. Brake works. Pedal forward, no grab. Pause, baffled. Swear quietly because the kids are sleeping. Remind self that bikes are not terribly complicated machines. Disassemble. Examine.

    Seems there are supposed to be some little teeth inside the brake pads that engage with the clutch. Unfortunately, this particular set of teeth is more like a set of gums. There's just nothing there, and they've got no bite. Worn smooth through years and miles, the only thing keeping them functional was the decades of grit and caked grease dust; all the stuff I so meticulously removed. Oh irony, how I admire thee.

    I don't know if all bikes shops open for a few hours on Sunday, but Gresham Bicycles does. This is useful for when you want to find out your best bet for getting new guts for an old coaster-brake Schwinn wheel is to find another old coaster-brake Schwinn wheel and cannibalize it. Or for when, knowing full well that your daughter really wants to be outside on her bike instead of inside watching you mutter and wrench, you decide the immediate solution is a new wheel. Cannibalism and original parts can wait.

    Take new wheel home. Ten minutes to install. Bike is faster and happier. Daughter is faster and happier. All is well. Notice, as you take old wheel to shed for later reparation, how all the surface rust is gone and the chrome is shiny and beautiful. Realize that you never did get to doing that to the front, what with the gritty toothless frustration. Plan tonight's activities. Remind self that bikes aren't terribly complicated machines. Listen to that bell ringing outside. Smile.
    Last edited by J.Oxley; 08-11-13 at 01:47 PM. Reason: OCD and typo resolution

  3. #3
    Casually Deliberate
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    @J.Oxley Did you start an actual blog somewhere? It was fun reading your first two posts about this and I'd like to keep going.
    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    Earmuffs!!! This is a family forum, miss!

  4. #4
    Casual Student of C&V J.Oxley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramona_W View Post
    @J.Oxley Did you start an actual blog somewhere? It was fun reading your first two posts about this and I'd like to keep going.
    Actually I just forgot I was doing this! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement; I'll get something new up here soon. There've been plenty of adventures since... whoa. August? Yeah, I'll get on it.
    That's enough out of you, legs. Shut up and pedal.

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