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Gregg Stone
Mighty Mobile Bicycle Repair

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Van

Well, it happened. I did my last job in the truck and took a step back to get one last look at the "old girl" before pulling all the tools off the wall. Within' minutes, all the tools were in boxes and I was lying underneath the truck unbolting the bracket that holds the tool board in place. We had a good run ole' girl, but it's time to move on.

Welding inside the van is both scary and exciting. Scary with sparks and smoke but exciting as things progress and ideas come to reality. The bracket that held the tool board in the truck was modified to work in the van. It also got "beefed up" a little bit as the tool board is going to be a bit bigger/heavier. After the welding, it was time to get some sleep as the next two days would be "full on" trying to get things in order so I could actually fix some bikes out of the thing. After a 10 hour day Wednesday and a 15 hour day on Thursday, the van was good enough to work out of. Completely done.... not even close, but workable.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Easy Drivetrain Clean

"What do I need to do to take care of my bike?" is a question I get asked quit a bit. Having a clean and lubed drive train on your bike is important for good shifting, makes for a smooth feeling bike and will extend the service life of your chain, sprockets and chain rings. Cleaning the drive train is pretty easy to do, only takes a few minutes and is oh-so self satisfying when you're all done.

Supplies needed: A wire brush, lube, rags. That's it! As you might guess, I have the afore mentioned supplies all wrapped up in a handy dandy kit for sale for your drive train cleaning pleasure. Email me for details. 2 bottles of lube?? Yep, 2 bottles. The Dumonde Tech (the green stuff) is really, really, really good on chains. The TriFlow (black bottle) is a slightly better penetrating lube for derailleur pivots as well as a kitchen sink full of other uses both on and off the bike. Additionally, TriFlow comes with a handy dandy extension tube that fits into the end of the bottle making the job of getting lube into all those "hard to reach" spots an easy task.

Start by holding the wire brush on the inside of the chain and back pedal that thing until your hearts content. Keep some pressure on the brush/chain as you do this to really get in there and get the crud out. No, the wire brush won't hurt the chain. That chain is one tuff customer... trust me.

Next, move to the outside of the chain. To make this easy, shift the chain onto the big chain ring. Again, back pedal while holding some pressure on the wire brush.

To finish the chain, brush off the side plates. Don't forget the back side!

Next, clean the rear derailleur pulleys with the wire brush. Again, you're back pedaling the bike to do this. Go easy with the pressure of the brush so you don't bind up the drive train which will cause the chain to fall off.

Go back to the chain rings and give em' a scrub. It won't take long to get the grime off the rings.

As you get more comfortable working with the brush, you'll learn little tricks on where to hold the brush and angling the brush to really get into all the nooks and crannies. At some point, you'll have to shift the chain into a different chain ring to allow you to get all three chain rings. (or however many you happen have).

Next, go to the cassette and get to work. If your bike is in a bike stand, pedal forward slowly and move the brush to different areas of the cassette. Be careful not to get your brush/hand/fingers tangle with the spokes of the wheel as it's spinning. If you're working on the bike on the ground and can't pedal forward, patiently use the brush back and forth to clean things up. Again, you'll have to shift the chain a few cogs to clean the entire cassette. At this point, you're done with the wire brush.

Get in your kit and grab a rag. Use the rag like dental floss to get in between the cassette cogs and make em' look new. The first few times you do this, it will feel (and be) a bit cumbersome. In time, you'll be a cog flossing pro and "wowing" you fellow riding partners with how clean you bikes' drive train always seems to be.

Move down to the rear derailleur and clean up the jockey pulleys. Use light pressure with your fingers and back pedal to clean the pulleys.

The rear derailleur has 10... count em'.... 10 pivots on it! Get in there and clean them up as best you can. You won't get them perfect, but that's OK. Just try and get the majority of "gunk" off. While you're at it, clean up the pivots on the front derailleur as well.
Now you're ready to put some lube on there. BUT... before you do, take a minute to visually inspect the chain, chainrings and cassette cogs for anything out of the ordinary like bent teeth or twisted links on your chain. Problems are easier to spot when everything is clean and much nicer to fix as well.

Take the TriFlow and lube all of the pivots on the rear derailleur. You only need a drop or two on each pivot.

Same thing for the front.

Next, take the Dumonde Tech and lube the chain. I like to lube on the inside of the chain because that's where the chain is coming into contact with the chain rings and cassette. Use the lube sparingly. You really only need a little bit on each roller of the chain. How much is a little bit......

..... it's about like this. You're trying to avoid getting lube all over the side plates of the chain. An over lubed chain will just attract dirt and grime making your next clean-up more tedious than it needs to be.

So, at this point, you've got lube on the chain, and all of the derailleur pivots. Slowly shift through all of the gears. This helps to work the lube into the chain and derailleur pivots. The more you do this the better. It's best to let the lubes "marinade" a little while. A few minutes is adequate. To finish, wipe off the excess lube from the chain and derailleur pivots and GO RIDE!!!!

Chain rings before.

Chain rings after.

Jockey pulleys before.

Jockey pulleys after.

Cassette before.

Cassette after.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Womens Repair Clinic May 2nd

A heads up to all the ladies out there on the swithcbacks and singletracks!

In conjunction with Alpenglow Sports, I'll be facilitating a backcountry repair course in a couple of weeks and I encourage all the gals to come check it out.

I'll be focusing on "real life scenarios" that happen on the trail and show the best/easiest way to get your bike going again. Bring your bike and any tools you normally carry with you on a ride. Tuesday June 2nd @ 6:00. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Faze 3

OK, so there have been WAY more that 3 phases of working on the van, but I think that the majority of the work has happened on 3 days. Yesterday was one of those days.

The piano hinge was installed on the work bench. The hinge is 56" long with 56 screws to hold it in place. I'm glad to have experience mounting ski bindings as I'm sure it helped with the successful layout and installation of the hinge. Well, that and some advice from my dad who runs a successful home repair business on the east coast.

Next was making some access holes in the bench for the support cables and installing a latch to keep the bench up when in drivin' instead of wrenchin'.

The empty beer bottles on the previous photo were the result of getting these bolts in place. Getting this bolt fed through the side of the door frame was no easy task... trust me. The access hole for the bolt is around the right side (where you can't see) and up a tad. There is very, very limited room inside the door frame where the bolts need to go and they just loved to slip out of my fingers and fall down to the bottom of the door frame which just happens to be 20" deep and fully enclosed. The only way to retrieve the bolts was with a telescoping magnet... a super lucky impulse buy at the hardware store. I probably dropped that bolt down into the confines of the door frame no fewer than 15 times.

Once the support bolts were in place it was time to put them into action and run the cables. With a 750lb load limit the bench is ready to take on some frozen bolts, stuck pivot pins or anything else that needs some serious "elbow grease" behind it.

Then it was time for more layout work. This is the finalest of final places that the tool board will pivot.... or at least it's damn close.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ride Break

After realizing that I can't convert a Chevy Van into a bike shop in ten days (my original time estimate) it didn't take long to realize that what I really should be doing is RIDING!! And that's just what I did.

Megan and I headed down to Nevada City to do a little single track delight. We stayed in the "mid section" of the Burlington Ridge where the mud was minimal and the temps were ideal, so much in fact that we ended up staying out for almost 5 hours! How good was it?? Well, it was good enough to make Megans pigtails glow AND good enough to not even think twice about going down there the very next day and do it allllll over again. Even found some new trails! Some times you just gotta look around and "think outside the box".

If you've ever thought about checking out some of the trails down there, NOW'S THE TIME!! Unless of course you DON'T like: spring flowers, tacky dirt, no dust, bermed corners, perfect temps, exploring new trails.... the list goes on. Don't know where to ride.... try this guys site. He's got maps on there that are perfect to get you going. There's also a killer map available at the Ranger Station in Nevada City called the South Yuba Recreation Map. I got that map from those guys about 7 years ago and have been exploring its possibilities every chance I get in the spring and fall.

See you on the trail.

Friday, May 8, 2009

That's it....

.... new rule! No more working on the van without drawings! I've wasted an incredibly huge amount of time installing, removing and re-installing misc. things into, out of and back into the van. Thought I could shortcut. Thought I could save some time. Thought I'd just "pull it off". Well..... I thought wrong.

I've also realized (and remembered from doing my truck) that the project of converting the van into a rolling bike shop isn't something that's going to happen quickly. It takes time to make things right. Make things efficient. Make things work for the long haul.
On a positive note... things are happening. I took the time to clean up a bit inside and install some shelving. Interesting project. Drilling lots of holes to tie in the shelving into the sides of the van. Gotta keep things in check while in "mobile mode" on the highways and byways of the greater Truckee area ya know. Also, got some great ideas on how to support the workbench, my next undertaking, from a customer the other day. We did some heavy duty brainstorming on how to make things work and I'm ready to apply some of them.... after yet another trip to the hardware store of course.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Van... Part 1

It starts with an idea. You stand at the back of that van and ponder the possibilities.... sometimes for way too long.

Things start to happen. Ideas come to light. You measure. Make marks. Theorize. Erase marks. Re-measure. Re-mark. Re-theorize..... sometimes for way too long. To the curious bystander, this process must look incredibly boring and painfully nonproductive.

Aah. The pivot. Designers of full suspension bikes aren't the only ones loosing sleep over just EXACTLY where the pivot point should be. It's equally as important on a 100lb wall of tools that will swing into or out of the work space.

At the end of the day, you have little to show for your efforts. The pile of reciepts on my desk would indicate one of the greatest undertakings of mankind. The inside of the van, however, looks like someone merely left some wood in the back and dropped a toolbox in the front, kicking its contents around before leaving at end of a very long day.