Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Pursuit Of True

The wheel in the thingie goes round and round, round and round, round and rou---scraaaaape.
Currently, I am in the thick of it at work so I can't really be lengthy here. (Because I need sleep. So so so much sleep.) But this week's class was on wheel-truing and we trued the wheels. Or, um, tried to.

Turns out I hate wheel-truing. I think because I suck at it. What you do is you feel the spokes, like squeeze the ones that are parallel to each other, to see if any are more loose than the others. Apparently, like a 5-pound difference in tension is WAY noticeable, to anyone not named Beth. Seriously, man, they all felt about the same to me, even when there was like a 10-pound difference. So the idea of being some Master Wheelsman (or whatever they call themselves) who can adjust the tension just by feel? Pshaw. Not gonna happen.

Bridget and I - wait, did I mention Bridget is my classmate, and she's at the workstation next to me so we share tools when necessary and frequently mutter things under our breath to each other, usually about what complete spazzes we are when it comes to threading? (Not eyebrow threading, ladies, I mean the threading on, like, things that screw in to other things. I often get the direction wrong, and so does Bridget, because rightie-tighty lefty-loosey doesn't always apply to bikey things. It's embarrassing.) Anyway, Bridget and I spent the class hogging the single tensiometer so that we could use actual objective measurements instead of just going by feel. It worked, we got the wheels true. But I didn't exactly have a great time.

So I'm not a fan of this particular task, which is a real shame since I had previously been hoping to build my own wheels at some point. But screw that, man, I will pay someone else to build them. And to true them. Godspeed and good riddance. I seriously have no interest in it anymore. How sad is that?

Another thing I learned is that Elspeth's poor bike was not just forgotten for quite some time, it was downright criminally neglected. I mean just look at the petrified salt and corrosion freezing this sucker up:

Dear Elspeth:  Your wheels are shitty. Sorry.  Love, Beth
(Oh, another thing: I had to un-attach the 3-speed cable and the coaster brake, which was not EXACTLY a walk in the park, okay, especially with all that rust and all. And the wheel rims are steel, so it all weighed circa 30 metric tons, is all I'm saying. ANYWAY.)

Despite the shape it's in, from having sat outside through at least 3 out of 4 seasons of a year (before being moved inside for another year or more, to just sit and rust over), it's not a terrible diagnosis for the bike. Since it's not a primary form of transport and since it's really only going to be used for a mile here, a mile there, take her to the train in the morning, maybe pick up some groceries on occasion, etc, it'll do. It's not worth sinking money into it to improve the bike, though. It's functional, and she can ride it til it dies, as should be done with any good old rust-bucket.

Let me just take a moment to say that in my experience - both in riding bikes and in learning about them - it's worth investing time, effort, and money into your wheels. I mean, if you have to choose just one thing to really worry about and/orconcentrate on, make it the wheels. Be cavalier about other parts, but not the big round ones that make you go.

Aaaaaand, I'm off. Have to skip next week's class (subject: brakes!) because I will be working out of town, so I'll pop back in after that.

No comments:

Post a Comment