Cyclocross really beats a bike up. Well, that is to say it really beats my bike up. Old Bess is a real trooper but 'cross leaves her just as, if not more, battered and bruised than me.
Fortunately, Old Bess is old school and hence is all about cup-and-cone bearings that even a mechanical klutz like me can fix. All it takes are a couple of pretty generic spanners per item, some patience and you're off to the races.
Just as I'm swiftly becoming a martyr to my knees, Old Bess is a martyr to her head-set and wheels. The head-set is an old-fashioned threaded one, but is an n=1 for having the prototype "self unscrewing" headset; it seems whatever I (or the various mechanics at Cyclesmith who've tried) do, the lock-nut unscrews itself in short order. Old Bess has a threaded-to-threadless headset adapter and so I just got a spare washer which I will place between the locknut and the brake-hanger. Hopefully now, the only way the locknut can work loose is if it can push the brake-hanger off the stem!
Next the wheels. These aren't weirdo prototype self-unscrewing ones. No magic here, they're just old and creaky and prone to the wobbles after too much exercise. Just like my knees.
I keep on having to strip them out, espcially the front one. It looks like the bearing cone is got a ding; no wonder I can't keep it in line.
There's something satisfying about doing your own bike mechanics, even if it means trying to keep track of what feels like a zillion ball-bearings.
As long as you can keep track of them and one doesn't go and roll under the washing machine or something then you can just re-pack it and reverse the steps to get a working wheel.
I decided to bling Old Bess up a little for this season. I picked up a pair of Vittoria cross tyres on sale at Ski Velo in Magog last July. They were 50% off so how could I not?
I just put them on and as you can see, they are a fetching shade of off-white.
Not the best colour for 'cross perhaps, given the copious amounts of mud, but they do bling out Old Bess nicely, and complement her eyes, or at least her decals.
I was taken by the "mounting instructions"
Which in case you can't make that out say that "to gravel, and glass; these may damage the casing of the tyre". Which us ironic seeing as these are off-road tyres. Can you imagine the whole field stopped at the entrance to the straightaway on Sunday saying "I can't go down there; the mounting instructions on my tyres say I could damage them if I go down there".
What do you think Too much perhaps? No white tyres after Labour Day?