Saturday, February 25, 2006

Creeping Towards Commuting

I am not the most patient person in the world. I had trouble with my bike constantly throwing the chain, which I first believed was caused by a bent chain ring. It was actually a bent spider arm. How on earth did I manage to do that? The trouble was, I knew the threads of the crank were stripped- I purchased the bike this way for use as a beater/commuter. Now I HAD to remove the crank. Last weekend I tried riding around with its bolt removed until it fell out, but to no avail. Aluminum on a steel spindle is akin to being welded on. The threads that were stripped were the threads that a crank puller needs to work. I was in a spot.

My neighbor and bicycle guru Sjur had read my blog and called me to plant the idea in my brain that I could attempt to cut off the crank. I can't remember if he suggested it overtly, or subliminally implanted the idea, but I decided to give it a try. I jerry-rigged a voltage convertor (a large, heavy box that can handle anything) and a series of what remained of our US extension cords to reach outdoors. I spent well over an hour polluting the neighborhood with the sound of exaggerated dental work being performed as I broke cutting disc after cutting disc. The discs were so small that I ended up having to cut an arm off to gain better access. I then progressively cut more and more of the crank away until I was too cold and it was too dark to continue (as our fluorescent outdoor light gradually devolved into a strobe light).

Today I attacked the problem rather early- certainly to the enjoyment of my quiet neighbors. It was man versus machine- the classic thematic struggle. I had better luck not breaking as many discs. I discovered that the discs only created sparks when contacting steel, which let me know when I hit the spindle (or BB cap) as I worked closer and closer, until I could finally loosen the crank. Soon it was free. I felt almost as great as I did yesterday, having completely my trifecta of achieving a permanent job, my photo Visa, and a driver's license. I bounded indoors and announced to my wife and our guest that we would reprise last night's celebration as I waved the liberated crank around like a lunatic. After much eye-rolling on their part, I returned outdoors to reassemble and test ride the bike.

I headed further uphill, as up usually precipitated my chain throwing problems. I decided that if I had any problems, I would replace my chain, leaving me with any entirely new drivetrain. As I rode I discovered a horse farm, followed by some weird sign prohibiting the breeding of animals- I think. It was written in Norwegian, of course. Next was a surreal sheep pen filled with creatures resembling mythical beasts- with horns twisted in all directions, and thick, droopy fur. I may have to return for photos for my upcoming Norwegian Oddities photo essay. Yesterday I took several photos at my favorite grocery store of such items as Black Boy spices and some Rape brand of chewing tobacco. I need to Bluetooth them into my laptop so I can post them. But I digress. The bike appears to work fine. Tuesday I should be able to commute, since I finally found my locker. I need to wait for my key card to be activated so I can enter the super secret locker area.

Today we took our guest on a mystery hike. On my way to Dale, I noticed a tursti heading up a huge hill. I had no idea where it led, other than up. We drove over to the other side of the fjord and started our walk, unsure where it led. A path marked by red Ts painted and rocks and trees guided us up. I could feel my heartrate climbing as we climbed. Suddenly I was overdressed. Eventually we were at the top of the hill. The trail ultimately went down the other side, then wound up atop another hill with the elevation of 300+ meters. Of course we started at sea level. We didn't have time to take the full route, so we headed back down the steep path of mossy boulders. We then drove around, and found snowy patches as we wound between all sorts of hills, or mountains, or whatever they are called, until we reached the end of the road at a ferry crossing. It was a fun little day trip. It is amazing that we have so many geographically diverse elements so close to home- beaches, mountains, ocean, fjords, lakes, even a few rivers. We have so much exploring to do.

1 comment:

Sparky Dog said...

dude, that is the most hilarious story about the crank. It reminds me of once in my old house I had to remove an ancient garage door opener that was freaking WELDED up. Oh dude, I cold only imagine what the neighbors saw when I started hollering and I swung it out on to the road ala hammer throw style once I got it down.... too funny.