Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wrenching in the Kitchen

This time of year when it's chilly and my bike requires minimal repair, to heft my bike through two doorways, then down a narrow staircase to the basement, well, it's not worth it. Wrenching in the kitchen is a suitable alternative. Bright lighting and 1970's linoleum that cleans up well, plus the advantage of a nearby sink means easy wash up—actually I can't think of a better place than the kitchen for all bike maintenance, though my family might object if it's a regular practice. 

There'd been some play in the front end, so-to speak. Squeezing the left brake at a dead stop revealed a rocking motion, which could ruin the bearing race if left too long. First thing: tighten the headset. This job called for the big gun—the Park headset wrench. It was an easy adjustment: turn the top lock ring clockwise until tight, but still allow the front wheel to easily swing when lifting the front end off the ground. In five minutes I was done, so why not do a couple other things I've been meaning to get to?

The Jellibell is shaped like a rear derailleur pulley. Funny how I never noticed that until now!
I've missed having the bell on the Ross—it was removed when I flipped the mustache bars—so I put the Jellibell back on.the stem again. I definitely prefer it in this position as opposed to on top of the bar. It is much easier to flick with my finger and thumb. This type of bell rings when moved forward or backward, though it sounds like a croaking frog when wet. I also applied a bit of bike oil in the crevices—it's been a bit unreliable lately, refusing to move on first try, which is, of course, when I most need it. It now sounds throaty (ugh!) though it moves more fluidly now.

Shawn from Urban Adventure League recommended applying oil to a steel frame. I just used some bike oil on a rag. It was amazing, really, how it brought back luster to dull, black paint. I also expect it will protect the bike from salt, which is commonly spread on slippery roads here in New England.

Maintenance in the kitchen also means that sustenance is close at hand. My favorite chocolate chips, yum!

The front derailleur's been sluggish lately. Now I know why. Look at that cable slack!

Out comes the multi-tool. I loosened the nut that secures the cable and pulled the wire taught, then retightened the nut. Voila! Another task done.

What is it about the extra allen key cap? It seems to allow one larger size, yet I've never, ever used it. Any idea what that is for?

Last item: oil and wipe down the chain. I always marvel at the importance and effect of  this simple procedure. If nothing else, this task is worth spending a few minutes at, as it immensely improves shifting.

After only thirty minutes, the Ross is in better working order. I wash my hands then put the tools away. Oh yeah, don't forget to sweep the grease balls that've collected under the bike. Wouldn't want to track that all through the house.


  1. "What is it about the extra allen key cap? It seems to allow one larger size, yet I've never, ever used it. Any idea what that is for?"

    I found out what it's for last fall when I was out on a ride and my crankarm came loose. The Allen Key Cap fit my crankarm bolt and I was able to tighten it back down and continue on with my ride. Without it, I may have had a long walk home pushing the bike.

    1. Thanks, Doug, for clearing up the mystery. It sounds like it's for modern crank arms, yes?

    2. I have four bikes with Sugino cranks that go on a square taper BB. They all use a crank bolt with that size Allen key.

  2. ...not something you would use on your Ross I see after looking back at the pictures.

  3. The kitchen is such a versatile room...nowhere better for carrying out all those little servicing jobs..!


  4. I agree, the kitchen is a great place to work on a bicycle. In the summer and fall I use the garage, or the bike rack to do minor fixes and clean up. But, when its frigid outside the bike comes inside.

  5. I wish I could get away with bike work in the kitchen or anywhere in the house for that matter. Not even through the house to the basement. Just too chilly in the garage in the winter. To my wife's credit though I am pretty clumsy and messy so maybe it's not such a good idea.

    Hmmm you've got me curious about those chocolate chips.


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