Monday, 1 October 2012

October already?

Have we really been here for eight whole months?

The last two weeks have been a bit, off.  I've been fighting a whopping infection and tired from it, so please excuse the lack of posts.

Last week saw me sock knitting, pretty much as usual right now.  I'd heard about the "fleegle heel" a no-fuss heel with no picking up stitches and no holes at the join from the gusset, in other words: knitter's dream!  Of course, I had to try it and had this gorgeous yarn to try it with.  8 days of on-again, off-again knitting and we have:


Warm, comfy socks!

The yarn striped beautifully and cooperated very nicely for the heels.

With those finished I wanted new socks, but this time I decided to try fair-isle colouring, last time I did that I made these:
Gorgeous socks, but...I did the top pattern bands too tight and within two washes they're now ever so slightly felted and won't go over my big feet.  So, with trepidation and lots of trying on as I went, I tried some celtic spirals;



It worked!  The top does require a little pull to get over my foot, but not so much I'm worried it won't fit after washing.  I do hope the yarn "fluffs" a bit though, otherwise these are going to be summer socks.

I tell a lie, this weekend has been interesting, the bike broke!

Jo went to a colleague's leaving do on Friday evening and came home with the cool box that he'd taken shopping in his hands.  It struck me as strange, but I assumed he'd parked the bike and was carrying the box from the garage.  Oh no, the bike had broken down, he'd been very kindly given a lift.

NB: It wasn't Friday, Jo informs me it was in fact Saturday, sorry.

I was informed that evening that they (work colleague whose house he had fortunately broken down near, colleague's partner and himself) had had a fiddle and found that, while the chain was attached, the back wheel refused to engage.

Sunday he brought it home and Sunday evening we had a fiddle ourselves.  Jo had contacted the people he bought the bike from and they had emailed him instructions on servicing the gear drum and removing the back wheel.  I did read some of it, then, well...I do so much better tinkering.

Jo held my torch for me and picked the back end up when I wanted to remove the wheel.  Took the wheel off, found the chain gear was loose, seemed to relock gear, put wheel back on three times - I kept mis-aligning bits - everything seemed fine, wheel engaged, until Jo tried to pedal.  *clunk* no go.

So I agreed I would take it apart again today and see if it was just a case of grit stopping things slotting properly into place.  Poor bike...

First it gets brick chocks put at both front wheels so it can't roll...

Then it gets more bricks (with cushioning to protect the paintwork!) stuck under the main beam, then I very unceremoniously removed it's back wheel.


Just to give you an idea of the complexity of this, the manufacturers recommend that, should you get a flat on the back tyre, it's best to try and repair the tyre in situ.  This bowl of bits (yes, I know where they all go!) shows why:


Next was the dismantling of the gear hub itself, Shimano do a very good job of making a logical assembly, i.e. you can work out how it comes apart.  So, off comes bit after bit, carefully laid in order so I can put them back in the right order.

There may have been the odd rude word as I hit the next obstacle, but eventually I got the chain cog off.  I cleaned it and that's when I noticed, my rag was catching.  Surely such good quality kit as Shimano (this gear kit alone costs around £200 without a wheel) wouldn't leave burrs?  No, but the cog half jumping out of it's slot and trying to do the job would.


See those nice, round, bumps in the centre of the gear?  Lovely, smooth, rounded, perfectly formed?


Yeah, not so much!  Two had been shaved to half thickness, the third had been shaved and was trying to shatter off.

I suspect it's when either, or both of us, has tried to pedal that little bit too hard and the weakest point is here.  This cog is held on with a circlip (a cut circle of spring-steel that acts like a washer but opens instead of needing to slide on), the cog pushed, the circlip jumped, the cog jumped.  Who knows when it happened, because this damage took time to build.

On the very positive side, because I found the fault we don't have to send the whole rear wheel back to Lancashire to be repaired.  I contacted the people we bought the bike from and he's sending me a new cog and circlip.  Good service!

Until then, the poor bike is up on bricks and looking very sorry for itself and I need to purchase some grease/gunk suitable for greasing bike gears ready for the replacement.  If you don't grease/oil your gears on Tiree, they rust!

Until next time, be of good cheer.

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