Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why Do You Ride

It's weeks from the 40th edition of RAGBRAI. I'm having fun preparing for the adventure which has the potential to turn into a sequel for Plans, Trains and Automobiles. It could be called Bicycles, Trains and Automobiles.  I plan to take the train from DC to Omaha, then join Team Skunk and the other 10,000 riders in the start town of Sioux Center, IA. The ride will take 7 days to reach Clinton on the opposite side of Iowa.

On the other side of the world in Korea, my buddy Dan went for a ride and was inspired to write a terrific tale about why he rides his bicycle. I like his reasons for riding. I also love to ride to get lost although bonus miles on a brevet aren't always fun. I love the adventure. Mostly I love riding and you realize that you are smiling for no reason. Riding makes me smile.

Check out Dan's post Bugs in My Teeth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Frozen Seatpost

 If you ride enough brevets, you and your equipment are going to get wet. Especially if your bicycle is named for a species of salmon such as the Coho. Eventually water makes its way into every crevice including your frame. This is not an issue with proper preventative maintenance. Part of the recommended bicycle repair schedule is removing the seatpost from the down tube and applying lubrication. A coating of grease forms a seal that helps prevent water entering the down tube.

Unfortunately, a bond is formed when water reacts with a steel frame and an aluminum seatpost forming aluminum oxide. This bond makes removing the seatpost very difficult. One way to remove a frozen seatpost is to dissolve the aluminum oxide with ammonia. 

1. Remove the crankset and bottom bracket. 

2. Use a funnel and carefully pour ammonia into downtube and let it sit overnight to allow the ammonia to penetrate all the way through the downtube.

3. Flip the bike over, grab your saddle with both hands and twist. This is very difficult and took every bit of strength. Eventually, the seatpost will budge a very small amount. 

Prevention is far more simple than this solution. If you are stuck, the Sheldon Brown site has a comprehensive article about removing a stuck seatpost.