Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One-speed Commute

On Friday night, the bottom bracket on my old peugeot started to grind with every stroke of the pedal. I'm pretty sure that's a bad thing. It's been a year, and quite a few rain storms, since I last had the bottom bracket packed with new grease and bearings. It's a job that I know I put off too long in my attempts to avoid doing it too often. Because of a loose bottom bracket, the peugeot could benefit from repacking the grease every 3 or 4 weeks.

Yesterday, I rode my one-speed Atala to work instead. This is the longest trip I've taken the Atala on. Unlike the other bikes it lives with, it usually only makes carefully orchestrated weekend appearances during grocery shopping trips or visits to a pub or friend's house within the neighbourhood.

The Atala is like an old well-groomed greyhound. It looks graceful and elegant gliding through my neighbourhood, like it has so much potential, but just chooses to move at a leisurely pace. It's not intimidated when it sits at the top of the big hill on Yonge Street. It's eager to let loose, but half way down it's begging to slow down. I let it slow to a comfortable speed, then cruise along the flat base of the valley, ignoring the distraction of the hill ahead. Climbing up the other side of the Hogg's Hollow valley is managed through some forceful encouragement and the promise of friendly streets to the north that will be quiet and level, just like the familiar territory of our neighbourhood.

By the half way point on the trip to work, the Atala is limping along. I guess I didn't do such a professional job of taking care of its wheels. I knew the front wheel wasn't perfect. It was the old wheel from my other bike, after all. But the back wheel was supposed to be brand new and checked carefully with my own hands and eyes. It didn't take long to put a sideways wave in it. The remainder of the ride was done with no expectations of a downhill sprint.

In a few minutes longer than normal, the commute was completed, as was the trip home. The old Atala may have topped out downhill at a slower speed than I wanted, and may have made me work harder than usual going up some hills, but there's something very relaxing about the freewheeling pace that it forced me to do as I rolled through the quiet streets in the north of our city.

Darren J 10/03/2006 05:10:00 PM

5 Comments:

lol :-P bikes are F U N !
well I think bikes are fun:-|
I agree, Steeker! No arguements here. I have fun every time I'm out there, even if it's a bit of a challenge sometimes. Keep on enjoying the pedal power!
Hey Darren, you might consider one of the cartridge type bottom brackets. The shimano ones don't cost a whole lot. You don't need to adjust the bearings in these units, and are pretty easy to install. You just need the right tool.
They were planning on putting in a cartridge type BB, but (after waiting 2 days for them to sort out the fact that they forgot about my order) they figured out that the right sized cartridge for my bike is not readily available. They weren't eager to special order it for me. They do good work for me when they do it, bit I think I'll have to stop going to that store with my older bike.

Now it's just getting new bearings and grease.

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