Monday, April 18

NBD: 2014 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er

So I wasn't really planning on getting a new bike that day but this just seemed like a good deal to pass, and I loved the bike when I rode it. It felt very aggressive and I really loved the style, the components on the bike were pretty nice as well. Hydraulic brakes, mostly Shimano components, better than the ones on the commuter bike I was hoping to purchase at Mec.

This was a 2014 model had a bit of scratches here and there but that didn't take away from the awesome riding experience that it provided. I named him Bob and I'm hoping we could have a lot of adventures together and who knows maybe even visit the Hydrocut :)

2014 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er

It also came with free fox gloves and some bike safety kit which were basically rubbish.

I wasn't the only one who got to bring home something from Guelph, my wife found an antique looking coffee table made by Heirloom of Canada Ltd. Which I found out later was the same company that made the double deck bed for my kids (Crate Designs).

Thursday, April 14

RAD Cycle Bike Adjustable Repair Stand

A good repair stand is definitely a worthwhile investment if you have a lot of bikes or if you work on bikes. When I first got started into cycling I got a bike stand about the same price as this one but it sucked, it relied on huge rubber bands to keep the bike secured and eventually those broke rending the stand useless.

So this is basically an early Christmas present according to my wife, really love that it had a magnetic tray so no more missing screws. There is also an adjustable holder for the handlebar so your wheel doesn't sway when you're working on it. I'm totally happy with this stand and could definitely recommend it to others on a budget like me looking of a reliable and stable bike stand.

Here are some of the other features of this bike repair stand:

  • Maximum capacity of 66lbs/30kg
  • Telescoping stand adjusts from 41" to 75"
  • Clamps hold tight but won't damage your bike's finish
  • Adjustable handlebar rod stabilizes the front wheel
  • Super easy setup and assembly

Tuesday, April 5

Removing rust from bicycle components

Recently brought home a free bike I found posted online, however after some of the snow melted from it I found out that the chain stay on the non drive side had burst due to water freezing inside. I immediately asked the bike gurus at /r/bikewrench on what to do and to my dismay it turns out the frame can no longer be salvaged and must be discarded as it is unsafe to ride. I wouldn't really want to be riding that thing when the chain stay finally gives up and break!

That was a major bummer, however all is not lost as I was able to salvage some pretty good parts from it.

The Giant Cypress that wasn't meant to be.

That's a pretty big hole!

The front and rear derailleur looks pretty good but a bit rusty, the brake and shift levers were the same ones that I just recently purchased from Recycle Cycles to replace my old mountain bike shifters.

So on my way home from work I bought a can of Rust Check, seeing as there seems to be a lot of online post that says it works and also got some steel wool at Canadian Tire.

Sprayed a decent amount of Rust Check on the corroded parts and left them there for a couple of hours, the finally used the fine wool to scrub off the rust. All I can say is that I'm pretty much satisfied with the results, I probably would need to clean the derailleur on the mtb once my new work stand gets here.

Monday, April 4

Winter is back, also our very first ComicCon

Oh winter I am so getting tired of you, please just go and come back next year. Well even though it was snowing last Sunday we still managed to enjoy our weekend by going to the Kitchener ComicCon 2016 at the City Hall. My kids really enjoyed it and I'm thinking maybe getting passes for next year so they could get some loot bags and stuff. I think we saw 2-3 Deadpools and some really awesome cosplay, the lady dressed as a Pan was awesome, not sure how she did the hoofs but it was really great.

Also visited Recycle Cycles again and worked with Fig to get my rear derailleur replaced, luckily they had a used Shimano Acera lying around, mine had so much lateral play that I think that it what's causing the chain not to shift to a higher gear. I learned how to clean the rear derailleur, disassembled and reassembled it back, this is probably going to be part of my routine cleanup from now on. In case that didn't work and I still had issues I also purchased a set of shifters and brake combo, hopefully I can get that installed next week.

Here's a picture of winter being a total ass, had to basically walk all the way to work, surprisingly the multi-use path at Ring Rd was all clear of snow. For the short time that I was able to ride my bike I think the shifting is working a lot better now, thanks to the new derailleur. Also had to put back my winter tires but that still wasn't enough for the fury of winters revenge.

Sunday, March 13

The missing links

So after getting home yesterday I watched several youtube videos on how to install a front derailleur, then I tried to fix the front derailleur to no avail, even asked Reddit for help. After several hours, a shower and some home baked pretzels later, I decided to install back the links that Fig removed and voila!!! The darn thing worked, shifting from 1st, 2nd and 3rd and no chain rub whatsoever!!!

While I know the skills of the volunteers wouldn't all be the same, in the end Fig did provide me with the right part to install, and I guess it was a mad house that day with kids and everyone else trying to get shop time and use the shop tools that it was impossible for her to provide me with much help.

I'll definitely still come back next time to tune up my bikes and buy parts.

EDIT Mar 16 - so it seems I haven't fully fixed it yet, went on a ride tonight and the chain keeps shifting to a lower gear and I'm still having a hard time shifting up to the biggest chain ring. Will probably have to come back and reschedule my appointment for Saturday.

Saturday, March 12

Time for some spring tune-up

Spring is here, time to tune-up my faithful mountain bike, got some new parts for her. Got the chain and freewheel from Recycle Cycles and ordered the front chainwheel and bottom bracket from MEC.

My wife and kids came with me today, they were curious about the Kitchener Saturday Farmers Market, I'm sure they'll have a good time there while they wait for me to finish working on the bike. Scott the previous volunteer that helped me wasn't there, however there was a nice lady named "Fig?" who helped me.

We started by attaching the freewheel which took about 2-3mins, then from what I learned last time I was there I quickly removed the cranks and bottom bracket. After that I installed the new BB, crankset and chain. Fig removed two links and also mentioned I needed a new front derailleur because my current one has a shorter cage (Shimano FD-TZ30), so she got me one of those used Shimano FD-C050 and this things went downhill from here.

NO matter how I tuned up the darn thing it wouldn't shift properly, Fig was of no help as she just mumbled stuff and keeps mentioning how I was out of time and should just reschedule. Finally I gave up, rescheduled for next week and just hauled the bike back to my van and met my family.

Saturday, February 27

Wobbly crank with screeching and grinding noise - Recycle Cycles

So my winter beater and rain bike has started acting up, lots of grinding noise when I pedal and the crank seems to be wobbling as well. After asking reddit and watching a lot of videos online I pretty much knew what needs to be done, bottom bracket needs to be replaced. Check for the components I need and luckily has most of them, but what surprised me was the cost of the tools, they were more expensive than the cost of the parts!!!

I knew my wife wouldn't agree to me spending more on tools I might only use once or twice a year, she actually wanted me to get another bike, however this ones really got a sentimental value for me as it was the bike that got me started cycling again and it was also a birthday gift from my wife.

Checked if the Bike Centre on campus was open but no luck they are still closed for Winter, there's not a lot of students who bike on campus during this season. Then I remember we once visited the community bike center in Kitchener called Recycle Cycles, booked an appointment for Saturday and spent most of my morning there, Scott one of the volunteers helped me and showed me how to do everything step by step. He was very patient and did not have the same condescending tone as those guys in the campus bike center.

He showed me how to use the tools to remove my cranks and extract the bottom bracket from the bike. The bearings on the drive side were shot and needed to be replaced, however I told him I'd rather get a new one but unfortunately they didn't have the 122.5 mm BB that I require. He told me to purchase what I need online and just come back once I have them. I did purchase the freewheel and chain from them and I'm really looking forward to coming back once the parts I ordered arrives.

If you are also on the lookout for a not so new bike to use this spring/summer then Recycle Cycles would most likely have what you're looking for! They have mountain bikes, some road bikes and plenty of kids bikes.