Monday, April 21, 2008

Alternative Means Are Needed

I've been dealing with a difficult personal issue lately, and didn't share it with y'all as I'm not big on sympathy. Isabella was in the hospital with a bad diagnosis. It was a a waiting game to see if she'd pull through. I was changing out the old bottom bracket to install a new crank. One cup came out just fine, the other, not so fine. Apparently Shimano shaves weight off their components by taking out whatever atoms make the metal hard. The drive side cup was frozen in the frame, and the special tool was just shredding it when I'd try to turn it. I took her into the bike shop, and the mechanic had a look of horror on his face. He said, "Dude, just so you know, theres a special tool to take those off." I told him I knew that. I had special ordered the tool from his shop, for just this job, it wasn't working, the cup was frozen and I thought I'd bring it in before I completely mangled the cup to the point where it couldn't be worked on (assuming it wasn't already there).
To quote the receipt (can there be a more appropriate locus of significance and meaning in a consumer society?)"I've advised the customer (dumb ass home mechanic) that we will do the best we can but have made him no promises based on the state he brought us the bike in. His bottom bracket cup is frozen. Alternative means are needed to release it".
I spent most of last week and all of this weekend alternately worrying and feeling sleazy for researching other bikes online (I felt like Newt Gingrich, divorcing his first wife on her deathbed to pursue a younger version - though I had no plans to then turn around and lecture America on the superiority of conservative values). On a side note, if anyone is looking for full carbon, has last year's Ridley Excalibur on sale with an SRAM groupo for $1900, the components aren't top of the line (much like my riding skills) but thats the same price as the frame itself usually.
I heard this morning that Isabella came through and just picked her up. Alternative Means were inserting another half cup on the backside to protect the frame, the standard tool, a head seat press around the whole thing to keep it all in place, and a cheater bar on the wrench. I'll put in the new crank tonight, she should be on the road this weekend. Well, I need to get back to work so I can go home early and do more crunches.
P.S. Just cuz I'm juvenile like that and someone else conned me into looking at a slide show of a man's ass in cycling shorts:


  1. I'm glad Isabella made it through. I had a similar scare a few years back on my first bike. I wore a flat spot on the headset bearings, but the threads had seized and couldn't get the (threaded) stem off. The shop was able to inject some penetrating grease (yikes, whatever that is) and let it sit overnight. They also came through for me and the headtube was ultimately unharmed.
    Also, The chalkboard in the sidebar is basically open season. All regular contributors should have access to modify it however you like (this is what Crash was hinting at in his last post). Works basically like MS powerpoint. I'm honestly surprised that my Giordana-clad stunt-butt has survived this long.

  2. Well, I think you did a fine job with Isabella. Did you know I now can pump air into my tires, AND read the pressure gauge? I can also change a flat. (I prefer front flats though). Some day I hope to be able to change out the batteries in my headlight and also to understand half the words in your post.

    Re: May's Challenge. Maybe we should split the difference. 500 miles, and one bottle of Tequila?