Weekly do-stuffering

This week was a straight flush for the bike with five consecutive days of cycle commuting and no driving. The morning temperature is now getting noticeably colder and the sun is only beginning to rise as I leave for work. This has resulted in the need for pansy clothing like full gloves, long sleeves and overshoes but has also provided some beautiful sunrises out on the quiet country lanes.

The sun rising over a misty Chew Valley this week

On Friday evening we went to the Chew Valley Beer Festival with a few friends. We enjoyed a variety of decent local ales, although there was one memorable thick, black stout which would probably have been more suitable as a lubricant for my lawnmower engine.

Rock & Roll & Beer. Fest.

Following some hungedover festering on Saturday morning I rode to the local bike shop to see if someone could take a look at my skipping chain and also cut down my ugly steering tube. Unfortunately the mechanics were too busy (or they took one look at my mud-encrusted machine and just pretended to be busy) so I bought a new chain and headed home to try and do it myself. The chain was a pain (although at least there was no rain on a plane in Spain to add to my woes). I got the old one off and fitted the new one but this made the problem infinitely worse than before. It would seem that the stretched chain has worn the rear cassette cogs (or something like that according to some quick searching on the internet) so I was forced to take it off and refit the old chain, which I firstly managed to do back-to-front from it’s previous setup resulting in me quickly transforming from Mr BikeVCar to a greasy-handed Grumpelstiltskin. After some effing and jeffing I eventually managed to restore my bike to it’s original shonky condition.

Next on the agenda for my incompetent bike mechanical skills was cutting down the steering tube. This is a completely vain requirement and serves no purpose other than making my crappy bike look slightly less crappy. During my five minutes of internet research I found out that lots of other cycling idiots had cut their steering tubes too short resulting in useless bikes with redundant front forks. Determined not to make this mistake I decided to cut the tube just 10mm initially, this being the length of one large spacer. I also used the spacer as my guide for cutting, rather than trying to achieve a specific measurement from the underside of the stem cap (this seemed a likely cause of other people’s mis-cutting).

Step 1 – remove heavily rusted steel forks / steering bar thingy and mark the cut line with some tape

Cut tube with a little girl’s little hacksaw (men’s hacksaws are available but you have to prove your manliness to the bloke in the local hardware shop to be allowed to buy one)

Stand back and admire the handiwork – all those nasty, burred edges of metal look great. Go and hunt around in your handbag for your nail file to clean it up 

Voila! Finished job (p.s. before ‘Step 1’ don’t forget to knock down the little star-shaped nut inside the tube before you start cutting. I hope nobody is ever stupid enough to try and follow these terrible instructions

I didn’t take any photos of the finished job because it was dark by the time I’d eventually lashed it all back together. But it all worked fine with no injuries, swearing or questionable workmanship which is very unusual for my normal bike butchering.

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