Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stir Crazy

All of this riding my bicycle indoors crap is really making me go nuts. Between the X-Bike and my own home trainer ride, I’m really starting to forget what it’s like to ride on a trail or a road. I decided to do something last night that would hopefully get my mind off of it.

Yes, beer does help, but that wasn’t what I was talking about. I grabbed one of my favorites from the Carolina Beer Company (the lovely Cottonwood Endo IPA), and set out to figure out why the hell I keep loosing my braking power during the Winter Short Track Series races. It’s not always about the beer around here, but it does help.

Anyway, I started with the front brake, since it puzzled me the most (I hardly use it during the short track races.) I took a look and saw that the cable tension hadn’t changed from the last time I adjusted it. So, why were the pads so far away from the rim?

Please excuse the shitty photos. I was too lazy to go upstairs and get the real camera, so Blackberry photos will have to do for now. I adjusted the cable tension again and tested it out. I had good braking power, which will now give me the ability to endo on cue. That will serve me well in the next race.

Next up was the rear brake. As you can see from the above photo, I snapped this one after I made the adjustment. Again, I couldn’t figure out why the cables were so far out of whack. I know cables stretch, but this was ridiculous. Upon further inspection, I discovered what was happening.

The brake pads (front and rear) were worn down like an old country road. The problem though, is that I have only ridden this particular bike a handful of times. I don’t really brake that often, so it must be the quality of the pads. It could also be the horrible conditions I’ve faced on the trail, but I’d rather blame the components. Keep in mind that I built this bike up on a relatively small budget, especially when it came to the brakes. Since the frame was v-brake only, I couldn’t see spending anything significant for a style of brake that I hated to begin with. I thought I would just make do with sub-par components. The plan was to race this bike and then if I liked it, upgrade to better parts down the road. That’s still the plan, so now I will most likely have to suffer with poor braking ability for the rest of the series.

I guess I can worry about that mess after the race series is over. I have a list of parts that I need, and I shouldn’t have any problems acquiring them. I’ll be looking for new cranks, shifters, rear derailleur, and of course, brakes. I’ll spend the dough this time for good shit, since I kind of like the idea of riding a hardtail bike (on occasion.) I’ll concentrate on that when I go back to riding my full-squish bike, Goose.

Shifting gears (stupid intentional bike pun), I have no idea what’s in store for the weekend. There is another winter storm approaching, so that could put a damper on my racing plans. I hope not, since I don’t know if I could stand another day on the trainer. I’d like to head out and do some skateboarding with Lunchbox this weekend, but even that will be somewhat of a chore. Our favorite local spot, Soul Ride Skatepark, has closed. They are moving to a new location, but that will take up to four months. There are a few other parks around, so we may check out one of them. Hopefully I don’t go crazy by then.

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