My kid is six today! He woke up and discovered a 20-inch Mosquito Sky bicycle in the living room. We’re the third owner–it moved here with a family from Denmark and has found happy new homes via Craigslist twice. It doesn’t have lights, but it’s otherwise similar to the Mosquito Sky Light 24″. It is really really cool–fenders, a rear rack, full chain guard, wheel lock, rear coaster brake and front hand brake, and a three-speed internally-geared hub (indvendige in Danish)! Here are a couple pictures from the day I picked it up:
We took off the bar ends off–they poke the back of the Yepp seat when I drag the bike in my cargo bike pocket. And I added some blue Fun Reflectors–stars and dolphins. The one problem with getting my bike powder coated is that the kids want to choose the colors of their bikes, too. Fortunately, the blue stickers were sufficient–he loves it!
Then we left the bike at home and went to celebrate the big day with a bunch of train activities (climb the old blue engine, cruise through the train yard, lunch in a trolley car, monorail ride). We had one bike-related errand: the one thing the missing on the new bike was a bell. Of all the great bike shops in town, we ended up getting a cheapie compass/bell at Daiso in the Westlake Center. We got two since my new pedaler’s bike doesn’t have a bell, either. Unfortunately his was broken and apparently parts from two different broken bells since they don’t fit together. But this is the first time I’ve been burned by the Daiso everything-$1.50-all-sales-final so I figure I’m way ahead and we’ll stick it together somehow.
Heading up steep steep steep Broad Street from the waterfront, a guy walking his dog nominated me for Mom of the Year during the first block of the climb, but then I slipped a gear on the second block and couldn’t get started again–it was just too steep. Then my chain started squeaking (and I remembered Edward mentioned it looked dry when I ran into him on the trail two weeks ago…oops) so we swung by Wrench Bicycle Workshop on our way home. I really like Wrench and Buck and Greg are truly excellent at putting a positive spin on big bad bike things. Two weeks ago when I told Buck I’d worn out all my rings save the big one, he said, “Well, that’s good. The big one is the most expensive one.” Now I feel frugal, not wimpy. And today, having just learned yesterday that I am the reason my drivetrain is hosed (more below), Greg helped put my mind at ease with his rationale that many people are of a mind to ride until something breaks and then address it. I’d certainly like to be more proactive about bike maintenance, but historically that’s not how I operate. Anyhow, they’re awesome and even have a magical tool they can use to check if a chain needs replacing. And judging from the trouble I’m having at absorbing the info in Sheldon Brown’s Chain Maintenance article, I need supernatural help. By the way, Wrench is one of the three shops conducting free tune-ups at Cascade Bicycle Club’s Dust Off Days Saturday April 27th, 11-3 at the Swedish Cultural Center on Dexter.
My hosed drivetrain:
I probably haven’t remembered everything Seattle’s family biking guru, Morgan Scherer, explained, but something along the lines of the chain stretches–especially if one doesn’t clean or oil it regularly (hey, that’s me!)–and the stretched out links don’t fit as snugly to the chainrings and wears those away gradually. And…yadda yadda yadda…the whole drivetrain needs replacing. Groan. Or I could replace my chain every six to nine months. Lesson learned, I hope.
Today’s miles: 13.4
April miles: 197.9
Oh I see. So 16 years of heavy riding with no maintenance might explain why my gears slip. Not sure what I will do with this info… probably just keep riding in the wrong gear (since I can’t get into the right one!)
Until recently, the Big Dummy is the only bike I’ve ever had that stays in the expected gear–it was so nice! Not that I know what I’m talking about (obviously!), but your fixes could be small and cheap: on older bikes wobbly cranks can be tightened and doesn’t indicate the entire drive train is hosed, you probably need a new chain and that new chain would need to be joined by any necessary new rings so they don’t destroy one another.