Thursday, August 5, 2010

Busted Nipple and Bent Sidewall

I didn't mention this earlier, but on my first big ride out of town on the oceanside road, my bike sustained two minor injuries.

One of the 32 nipples that screw into the 32 spokes of my front wheel sheared in two. Presumably this happened because I have a 20ish pound camera bag on the front of my bike and I've found that the nipples of my front wheel like to break when I fly a lot with the bike.  (Wheelbuilding classes are either hilarious or horrifyingly awkward with all the talk of adjusting, tweaking, and twisting nipples in order to achieve the optimal tension in each spoke)

While replacing the suspect spoke and nipple with one of the spare sets that I have learned to fly with, I checked the status of my rear wheel. On my previous ride I had felt a curious slight rhythmic tugging related to my rear wheel . 

Turns out there was a small dent or bend in my rear rim. Not the traditional love-mark of a sudden curb or pothole, but definitely a relative. About a two inch section of the right sidewall of the rim was slightly bent outward by a few milimeters; the left sidewall was not noticeably bent in any way. The bend in the rim was small enough to ignore for a week and loosen my brake adjustment, especially given the fact that I don't have a lot of confidence in the strength of aluminum that has been bent back into shape. Steel, sure, Aluminum, not so much.

In the end, I decided 'what the heck' I might as well fix it now. Fortunately the wonderful apartment I have been renting for the last couple of weeks supplied me with sturdy pliers from under the kitchen sink. After some slow, slight bends to the rim with as much care as a clunky pair of pliers affords, I was satisfied with the shape and pulled out a small metal file and evened out the rim's surface that I had scratched up with the pliers. I don't remember why the metal file made its way into my travel tool bag, but it definitely earned its keep.

The bend in the rear wheel wore away at my right rear brake pad extra fast, so I used the extended pit stop to put on some new pads I picked up from Henry and Tony at the shop. Cobblestones, hills, loaded bike, and maybe some hills: Kool Stop Supra 2's is what they handed over. We'll see how they work out.

All in all, riding along a semi highway, you can't always swerve to avoid potholes or drainage grates, so your tires and wheels have to absorb what they can. I wouldn't want to imagine riding somewhat loaded down on tires any smaller than the 700x35's that I have. 

1 comment:

  1. My suggestion saved the day! Now bring me some of them pistachio bars.