Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I saw the doctor on Wednesday, and she signed me off work for a week. I am no longer ill (i.e. I feel pretty much OK), but I need to rest my leg and keep it elevated so that the antibiotics can get to work on clearing out the nasty things that have caused the infection. So, naturally, I have been working on the bike. (Seriously, I am fairly immobile. I can be up and about for half an hour or so, but then I need to rest again or the leg starts to throb and swell like something in a science fiction movie. But in the periods when I can get about, where better to do it than in the garage?)
I've been getting a bit panicky about the Sprint being out of commission. I have booked in for the Ride of Respect next month, and I was having visions of having to do it on the XT, which would have been less than ideal -and take twice as long.
Regular readers who have the slightest interest will remember that the steering bearings had become very rough and notchy, leading to a slightly embarrassing tumble at work and some entirely preventable cosmetic damage to the bike. When I got the headstock dismantled, this was what I found:
No wonder it wasn't keen on corners!
Yesterday and today I spent working on it intermittently. I had to cut the old bearings off. They are an interference fit and were very reluctant to leave the party. To get the new ones on, I had to leave the stem in the freezer overnight and heat the bottom race up in the oven beforehand. With all that done, and a few mighty blows of a hammer and chisel, the new ones went on without too much drama. And don't they look better?
I then drained half a litre of 12-year-old brown sludge out of each fork leg and replaced it with nice fresh 10W oil and put it all back together. While all the plastics were off, I took the opportunity to fit some better headlight bulbs. The Sprint's headlights are shockingly bad, and I am hoping that these Osram Nightbreakers will improve matters. HID lights seem to the technical fix du jour, but I am not keen to go down that route until I have exhausted all the other (i.e. cheaper and less hassle) alternatives.
This morning, the bike looked like this:
BTW, that's the garage after I tidied it up to store the new kitchen units. You didn't want to see it before, honestly. Note the sophisticated jacking arrangement to keep the front end off the floor.
Tonight, it is back on its wheels, plastics fitted, and ready to go. A light drizzle and failing light meant that I wasn't too keen to test-ride it today, but if the weather holds I will take it for a few milkes tomorrow to see how it is shaping up. But even pushing it along the driveway I can feel that the steering is totally different; light and smooth as opposed to chunky and recalcitrant.
A shakedown ride, and then I will commute on it for a few days just to bond with it again. I'm looking forward to it. Assuming I can bend my leg.