Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend update

Got up a bit early (okay, 5 AM), had leisurely breakfast, and rode over to Jim's house in Shaler for a 7 AM start on a Slippery-Rock-and-back century. Primary purpose was to scout a portion of the route for July's Pittsburgh-Erie-Pittsburgh 2-day ride; secondary was to shake down the newly rebuilt P-38. Oh, yeah, and to get in an extra century for March; gotta get back on track after missing January, eh?

Fun route: Babcock/Thompsons Run/Duncan, then through North Park back to Babcock. Mars, Evans City, then north via 528 through Prospect to West Liberty Rd and Slippery Rock. One good low-gear climb in Evans City (side-street way up to 528; Elizabeth St, if I recall correctly), and a few nice long grinders, but also plenty of opportunities to just let 'er rip.

P-38 held up well; probably need a bit of rear-wheel lovin' with a spoke wrench, but everything else seemed solid. Most of the random creaks, squeaks, and groans (except mine, of course) are gone; amazing what happens when one tightens and Loctites screws appropriately, as well as trimming off excess metal bits wherever possible.

After a barrage of house cleaning and handyman projects, I took some time to address the seat problem on the Rocket. Forensic analysis indicates that one of the two bolts holding the seat pan to the seat frame had gone walkabout quite a long time ago; in hindsight, that may account for the seat creak I'd been failing to deal with for the last six months. The lone remaining bolt finally work-hardened and snapped last Thursday while I was cranking around a corner.

So, I ran to ye olde corner hardware store and grabbed a couple of bolt extractors, spent 20 minutes(!) carefully drilling into the recessed stump of the broken bolt, then extracted said bolt with a minimum of drama and damage to the socket threads. New used hardware, a few minutes spent tinkering with the rear brake, and a few minutes tightening the rear axle when I noticed that there was at least an eighth of an inch(!) of side-to-side play in the hub; then the Rocket was ready for action once more.

Packed a picnic dinner (PB&J, bananas, and juice...what more can man and boy want?) for meself and me best boy, then hitched up his trailer to the Rocket and plummeted down to the river. Dinner on the benches by the Science Center, some train and tugboat watching, then hauling his heavy butt back up McClure to get home; a fine way to end the day.

No comments: