Some Ups Some Downs

Over the years, I’ve saved lots of money doing stuff myself on the bike. 90% of the time everything goes great but then there’s that other 10… 1 week ago, Ken stopped by with Pugsley to set in motion a 1×9 build idea he had after a few rides with Andrew & myself. He’d picked up an 11×40 wide-range cassette and a new chain. I got warmed up by replacing the cassette and chainrings on the Trucker which were torched after the tour last September…


I also took the opportunity to do a show and tell on what new chains and rings look compared to totally destroyed ones. Everything started out fine. Replacing his old cassette and installing the new one only took 20 minutes or so. While I was working on installing the wheel Ken asked “what’s next?” I passed him my crank removal tool and said “have at it” since we needed to pull the drive arm to replace the rings with the ones I was donating to the cause. The devil is in the details. I’ve removed square-taper crank arms 50 times if I’ve done it once. The problem I didn’t foresee was Pug had a splined crank which required a different tool head buried deep in my kit. Ken dutifully was turning the wrench and eventually said “is it supposed to be this tough to turn?” Before we knew what happened, the removal tool was embedded 1/2″ in the axle threads. A terrible coincidence of spline and square cranks is that the diameter of square removal tools is precisely the same as a bolt for a splined interface. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to recover from it to no avail.

By 6pm I was getting pretty frustrated so we wrapped it up for the day. I went on the computer that evening to research the tools and parts I’d need to dig myself out of the bike mechanic’s hole I was in. 1 week waiting for boxes to show up and I was ready to right the wrongs by late the next Saturday. All totaled:

  • New bottom bracket
  • New bottom bracket removal tool
  • New external bb cup removal tool that I’ll probably use one time.
  • Clean brakes
  • Adjust rear hub
  • Adjust headset

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P.I.T.A. to fix but cheaper and less embarrassing than taking my mistakes to a shop. Maybe by writing this out I can save someone else from making the same mistake I did. Looks pretty good all back together.

Also on Saturday, Andrew and I planned a redux of our Loch Raven trip. Second outing didn’t go as well. On the way out I was dragging so hard. REALLY tired. About as far from the car as we could be, Andrew got a flat. We tried to pump it up. No dice. Spare tube? Nope. sigh.

He ended up walking back to the car. Ironically, he was STILL faster than me up the hills. Andrew ended up needing a new tire after a sidewall rip. double sigh.

Sunday afternoon was sort of redemption day. Ken was free in the afternoon and wanted to check out his revamped bike. He came by the house and we did a little test-ride from the front door. Of course, he found a ‘no trespassing’ sign and made me ignore it. We explored along Winters Run past this construction entrance. He kept telling me it was “probably going to loop around” while I told him “no way” I followed him anyway and he proved me wrong. Found some cool trails and 80% of it was rideable. Wish I had taken more pictures…



On AND off the bike I’ve been sluggish lately…


Thanked Ken for getting out and shared a nip of my 15y scotch when we got back. Glad I got his bike back to him before the first snow of the year!


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