Some Self-Affirming Stuff

Who the heck features a picture of his bike’s derailleur?

Here’s the rest of the story:

Yesterday I adjusted my handlebars so that I could ride in a slightly more upright position. After climbing the hill out of the Mississippi River valley in “granny gear,” I leveled off and found I could not shift back to “fast gear.” I could shift down to about the third smallest sprocket, but not the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th sprockets. What’s up with that?

I tried putting my handlebars back into the lower position. That didn’t work. I tried kicking my derailleur with my right foot when I shifted. That didn’t work. I finished my ride and planned to fix the problem the next day.

Today is the next day, and I fiddled with the rear derailleur for about 40 minutes. I tested my efforts every five minutes. Nothing seemed to work and I almost resigned myself to bringing it to my genius brother.

But sometimes I get the crazy idea to take things apart and figure them out for myself. Perhaps you remember the time when I reported disassembling the stem of my bike to solve a steering problem. It worked. I also bragged about fixing my own brakes one time. That worked too.

Today, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to diagnose the problem, I took the chance of separating my derailleur from its cables. Sure enough, I found the problem. The cable had rusted inside the casings. It wouldn’t move. (Too much winter riding I assume.) I squirted a little WD-40 into the casing. I relied on lot of luck to help me put everything back together properly because I have no mechanical skills at all.

Son-of-a-gun, everything worked perfectly on my next test drive!

Right there is where the shifter cable was locked up tighter than a boa constrictor on a rat.

I haven’t been posting almost every other day like I had been doing for the previous nine months. That’s partly because I don’t have much new and interesting to say. It’s also partly because I’ve been trying to reconstruct my cooking blog after getting booted off of the Crazyguyonabike/Topicwise bullshit empire.

I’m back today for three reasons. 1) To brag about fixing my bike by myself, 2) to meet the monthly challenge of photographing something for the first time. In this case, I am positive I’ve never taken two pictures of my derailleur on the same day. 3) I hooked up my trailer to take Diggity for a ride for the first time this year.

Perhaps some of you might remember when I took Diggity for a ride in a basket. He seemed to enjoy it.

Last year I bought a trailer for my little buddy. I think he likes that better than a basket.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

16 response to "Some Self-Affirming Stuff"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: May 26, 2021

    I showed the video of Diggity to Sophie, our sweet rescue pit bull, and offered to take her for a bike ride. She yawned, said “No, thanks,” and went back to sleep.

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      Diggity’s getting pretty old (12 years) so he sleeps a lot too, but any time I say “Wanna go for a ride?” or “Wanna go for a walk?” he jumps up in excitement like a little puppy.

  2. By: BobinVT Posted: May 26, 2021

    I occasionally try to muddle through some of my own bike maintenance, and there’s definitely a good feeling when you manage to do some minor repair or adjustment, and it actually fixes the problem. So, congratulations! I also haven’t been inspired to post much this month. I’ve been riding a lot, enjoying the relatively warm weather, but haven’t really seen much in the way of unique things to photograph that I haven’t done before. Looking forward to that scavenger hunt next month.

    Diggity definitely looks pretty happy in that trailer!

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      Yeah, it’s crazy how excited I get about such a minor repair. I had the same feeling after replacing the rubber plug inside my toilet one time. I wonder if bike mechanics and plumbers get that kind of satisfaction after such simple achievements.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: May 26, 2021

    Congrats on the derailleur repair!
    Diggity looks quite the aristocratic canine in his trailer — “Oh Gregory — pull over at the next hydrant please.”

    • By: Scooter Posted: May 26, 2021

      Reminds me of the time Rachael’s derailleur froze up. Her problem was similar, but the result of a reassembly error. When I reassembled her folding bike after unpacking it at the start of the tour, I pinched the end of the cable into the folding joint of the frame. I’ve done this three times now, so at least I’m getting better at recognizing the symptom and identifying the cause.

      So when do we get a look about that cooking blog we’ve heard so much about?

      • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

        I can’t believe you haven’t already heard about my cooking blog. It’s a major internet sensation that has been enjoyed by over two DOZEN people. That’s right, more than 48 eyes have viewed my food writing–some them have even come back to read a second page. (See my response to Nancy below for the link.)

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      I didn’t know you spoke Canine, Rich. That’s EXACTLY what he said with that “arf” in the second video.

  4. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: May 27, 2021

    Hot Diggity Dog. He looks pretty chilled out actually

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      I like how he is constantly looking from left to right and from right to left. That’s what I do too. I guess the old saying is true: “Like father, like son.”

  5. By: NancyG Posted: May 27, 2021

    Seems your brother has nothing on you when it comes to fixing bikey things. Good job Greg. Like others, I have not posted much this month and there are a variety of reasons. Nothing major and nothing that will keep me from posting more here in near future. I have however, been updating my blog.

    Speaking of blogs — let’s have a look see at your cooking blog ;’-)

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      Thanks for asking about my cooking blog, Nancy and Scott. I love to cook, but the blog isn’t so much about the recipes as it is a chance for me to tell stories about the memories certain foods bring back. Also, it’s a chance for me to make fun of foodies and celebrity chefs, and it provides another venue for me to act goofy. You’ll probably find that Chef G. has many of the same characteristics as my other alter egos–Storm Chaser Greg and G-2.

  6. By: Suzanne Posted: May 27, 2021

    Taking that derailleur apart was a pretty risky thing to do! It’s so easy to take things apart and think, oh, I’ll remember how it went. But then… Brilliant that you got it all fixed, and with no help from your brother.

    “To the next hydrant, and then home James!” And how did you get the video of Diggity behind you and steer your bike at the same time?

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 27, 2021

      The secret is to find a street where you know there will be no traffic. Then move to the center of the street. If you don’t do that, you’ll almost certainly crash into the curb at some point.

      I hope to use that same technique when I take videos of Scott and Rocky when I ride with them next week . . . unless they’re a lot faster than me. If that’s the case, it will be easy to film them up ahead.

  7. By: DJG Posted: May 27, 2021

    Hi Greg, I like to do my own bike stuff when I can, though wouldn’t consider changing a headset.

    Though riding every day, its mostly in loops some larger than others, so nothing of real note to post.

    • By: gregblood Posted: May 28, 2021

      Hi Dave, I didn’t exactly change the headset, I just took it apart a little bit, cleaned the fork, and managed to put everything back the way it came out. One thing I will not do is try to rebuild a wheel, or do anything to a wheel at all for that matter.

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