Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Center

Wow, it's been a while. With the holiday and all, I've not been commuting much, but have been getting in some great rides, just the same. The weather's been great for getting out there and laying tracks. Cold, crisp, calm, and just enough new snow to add to the base.

But this is Alaska, so nothing is as easy as it should be or as it seems. I ride my bike as a way to hopefully simplify my life a bit. No worries about gas or insurance, speeding tickets or red light tickets. Yet it feels like things are often way more complicated than they should be. It feels like I am constantly replacing parts on the bike just to keep it running.

The latest in the line is a new chain. I'd been dealing with a stuck link for a while and decided I'd best pick up a new one. In all fairness, it had been eight months since the last replacement, so most definitely due.

Of course, when putting on a new chain, there is always the possibility that you find that the cassette is also in need of replacement. Generally, I can replace the chain twice before replacing the cassette. Normally, though, I use Shimano cassettes. This last time I used a SRAM - cheaper initially. But the new chain caused serious skipping issues. So, after ruling out the possibility of a grimed up derailleur that was causing the skipping, I dug out an old Shimano cassette that was relegated to the parts bin as end of life. Threw it on and the skipping issue has been 99% cleared up. There is still one gear that will skip if I shift to it while under load, but it might just work to get me through the winter. That's what I hope anyway. I know I should just man up and get a new one, but when my bike looks like the following pictures too often for the next six months, it seems like throwing money away.

Yup, winter is tough on everything up here in the north. Sometimes it is enough to simply limp through another one before worrying about rebuilding all those things that the weather has broken down - bikes, bodies, houses, yards, cars. Baby them along as long as possible and when the sun comes back, work like hell to get them back into shape for another go round. 

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