Category Archives: maintenance

Changing a Flat Can Be Such a B***ch


I love my Williams wheels, but changing a flat on this can be such a b**ch.  Normally, when changing a flat, you should be able to get any tire iron in, to pry off the tire, so you can get the tube out.  However, not with this one.  I figure I have to get all the air out of the tube, as much as I can, and then I have to wiggle the tire, so that I can get enough space to insert the tire iron under the tire.  Tire makes it really tough when changing a flat, out on the road.  So if you think about how long it takes to normally change a flat … double, or in some cases, triple that time.

Maybe it’s a combination of the wheels and the Continental tires?  Or maybe it’s because I’ve got 700×25’s on them.  I might try putting on 700×23’s sometime, and see what the difference is.

What’s also annoying is knowing you put a good tube on, and you inspected the tire, free of any wires, or nails in the tire, and after you pump it up, it gets another flat … a pinch flat.  Arghh ….  Yes, this is how I spent part of my weekend.  Originally was going to fleet week, but not this time.  I decided to watch football instead.

That Annoying Little Spacer

Excited about my new wheels, I went ahead and changed my freewheel cassette over to my new Williams 25 Disc wheel.  Installed everything, and took it for a short spin.  However, something didn’t feel or sound right (like a little clicking).

Upon further inspection, I found the cogs were loose.  So I tightened the lock ring further, but still too much free play.  So I transferred the cassette back to the old wheel, and it’s as snug as can be.  Put it back over, and the same problem.  After an hour of really close inspection, I looked at the old wheel, and in the back of the freewheel, I found a really tiny spacer (one that you couldn’t tell unless you inspect it really closely).  I transferred that little spacer over, and now the cassette is as snug as can be.

Luckily I inspected this closely before going on my turkey day spin.  Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Caution: Test Your Cleats After Installing It

My right cleat was starting to wear down … I know this, because it was just a little too easy to dismount.  So I bought a new pair of cleats.

I forgot to install it last night, so this morning, just before heading out, I realized, I just bought new cleats.  So I installed it, then went out for a ride.

I nearly couldn’t get out as I got to Starbucks.  I had to put unbelievable torque to get my shoe out of my pedal.  I typically pivot out, but I had to dismount 10 seconds before my actual stop … This is not normal.

Just out of a whim, I tried pivoting inward, and I was able to dismount a bit easier.  I gotta look into this a bit more, but I think I’ll take more time into replacing my cleat the next time.

Luckily, I didn’t fall awkwardly the wrong way, on a busy intersection (I’ve been known to do that in the past).


I inspected both cleats, and the right cleat seems to have some imperfection in the shape.  There seems to be some nick, that could be causing it not to dismount from the pedal.

Bike Maintenance on an On Call Weekend

I’m on call this weekend, which means no real extended time on the bike.  So I decided to give my folding bike some love, and do some work on it.  What prompted me to do this, was while on a bike ride to grab breakfast at Noah’s NY Bagels, I noticed the rear was going a little wibbly-wobbly … no it’s not timey wimey .. ha, I got a Doctor Who reference in there!

So I get the rear wheel off … no quick release levers here … just old fashioned nut on a threaded axle … Wow that was a pain to get off.  On closer inspection, what do I find … Suntour … Suntour?  Wow, do I even have a tool that can remove this?


Actually, it’s the same shape as the shimano cassette, and I was able to get that off, with no problem.  I spun the wheel, and it didn’t feel like it was rolling very smoothly … so taking the axle apart, I find this does not have sealed bearings … ugh, how did we maintain our bikes before sealed bearings?

I go ahead and clean out the bearings, put it back together, and what do you know … I misplaced a couple of balls.  All the preparation in the world, and you still manage to lose them.  Quick run to the LBS, getting a nice set of replacement ball bearings, and I’m ready to go.  After re-packing them, I found the missing ball bearings … it was inside the axle of the wheel.  I guess I didn’t poke it enough to find it.

The challenge in doing this (something I haven’t done in a long time) is remembering which part goes where.  This took a lot longer than it normally would, but I don’t mind … this is all just to spend some time away, while I’m on call.  The only drawback is, if I get a call, I’ve got greasy grimy hands.  Luckily, no one called while I was maintaining the bike.

So that’s how my exciting weekend is being spent … how about yours?

Saddle Slip, How Does That Happen?

I was riding along, just getting in some miles before my first climb.  It’s a flat stretch along Foothill Expressway, then all of a sudden, I felt something sink.  It wasn’t a flat, and it felt like my saddle position dropped.  It wasn’t too dramatic, and I decided to keep riding on, until I reached the intersection.  I checked, and it looked a little low, and my knees were bent a little more than usual.  I better head back, then suddenly, the saddle height dropped quite a bit more … it got to a point where it sank about 1-2 inches.  I couldn’t even ride seated.

I proceeded to ride standing … it is difficult to ride without your saddle.  I knew it would be tough, but this was ridiculous.  I went back to Los Altos Community Center, where I saw Dillon there, getting ready for another Pescadero ride with Steve.

Luckily, Dillon had a torque wrench, specifically designed for the saddle.  We loosened it all the way, and even then we had a problem raising the saddle height.  If we had this problem changing the saddle vertical position, then how in the world did the saddle height sink?  I did a ride the previous day, climbing Saratoga Gap, with a good 40 miles, 4000 foot climb … good thing my saddle didn’t slip while on that ride.

I took the bike over to Bicycle Summit.  There was ample grease on the seat post, so it wasn’t a lubrication problem.  Perhaps it just wasn’t torque’d down enough.  I still find it strange that it suddenly sank on me, and then we had problems raising the saddle height.  Oh well … I guess that’s one mystery that will not be solved.

Oh, while I was there, I might as well ask for a torque wrench.  The guy goes back, grabs a torque wrench from their tool kit, and gives it to me.  Let me say again, he gives it to me – For free.  “Are you sure”, I ask … he says they have plenty of them.  Really .. Well, that’s customer service for ya!