If you have been following the Belle chronicles, you will remember that I had a bit of a fender bender the other night during my ride to the company holiday party. I later realized that it was actually the front wheel, not the rear, that was making funny noises. When I removed the front wheel, I could see that the fender had literally buckled at the bolt near the fork crown (sorry didn’t think to take a photo!), and without any real bike mechanic expertise, the dude and I figured the only way to prevent the rubbing would be to saw down the bolt. He took out a hacksaw and went to town. It worked! No more rubbing… In retrospect, I cannot believe I let a hacksaw get so close to my precious frame.
Since we were tinkering, I decided to finally address some of the other maintenance type activities that were long overdue. First, both Shishkabike and my LBS have both informed me that its not wise to allow the copper wires leading up to the front dynamo hub be exposed. The LBS also said that the wire-connector intersection would last longer if I soddered it together. Logically, we started with the soddering process, and with his electric guitar fetish, I was happy to know that the dude had some experience with a soddering iron.
Initially, I thought soddering/soldering was the same thing as welding, but Wikipedia informed me otherwise:
Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the workpiece. Soldering differs from welding in that soldering does not involve melting the work pieces.
He applied this yellow stuff called flux to the area where the solder would be applied. The flux somehow ‘attracts’ the solder to the ‘room temperature’ metal, if you will. It worked like a charm.
We then surrounded the wire-connector intersection with the black plastic heat-shrink tubing, and applied heat via a blowdryer. Voila! Double-duty protection:
I seriously had no idea that the little black plastic tubes that came with my front light were meant to protect the wires, nor that blowdrying them down would essentially shrink-wrap the tubes around the connector. Thank you, Shishkabike, for enlightening me.
Next, I tightened the tension on my saddle (all by myself!). You can see that it is no longer droopy.
I also cleared out the cockpit, that once carried a German mirror and turn-signal remote for my previous tail-light. Don’t ask. I went through a Captain Dashboard phase. You’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about.
Finally, I had recently been having issues with the wider Compass tires and tight clearance within the new honjo fenders, causing my rear wheel to occasionally lock up inside the fender. I finally figured out why this is happening:
The axle alignment bolt on the non-drive-side dropout is screwed in farther than that of the drive-side, putting my axle, essentially, out of alignment:
During my little maintenance spree, I adjusted these bolts to be evenly protruding out of the horizontal dropout, and the wheel has since been much better about not locking up inside the fender. Now, I just need to cut those extra-long fender stays! (Another project for another day, which may require breaking out the hacksaw once again. Shudder.).
Suffice to say, with all of the recent changes, Belle really looks like a brand-new bike!