Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Great Bicycle Build Continues

This weekend my younger son helped me make progress in assembling the 3-speed bicycle that we have been intermittently working on for many months.  My son hooked up the brake cables and adjusted the brakes.  We cooperated on wrapping the handlebars with long strips of synthetic leather.  My son took the left side of the handlebars and I took the right.  He did a tight, professional job of his side.  My side was slapdash but adequate.

His wrapping somehow put me in mind of a lady's black stocking on a shapely leg.  Judge for yourself.  (Yes, I probably need to get out more.)

My son is an excellent teacher.  He lays out general principles, describes specific techniques and pitfalls, and then lets me blunder ahead.  The objective is to get me to roll up my sleeves and take ownership of my actions.   Then, just as I am on the verge of doing damage to the equipment, he patiently steps in with gentle comments and sets me straight.

For instance, I put the chain on the sprockets and found that there was too much slack.  My son gave me a chain-breaking tool and showed me how to remove a link.  Then, he gave me a so-called "master link," a sort of slotted metal snap to fasten the chain together again.  I set to the task with my usual mixture of anxiety and impatience.  As I was preparing to snap the master link into place, my son quietly said, "It's probably better to go with the traditional chain design instead of a Moebius design."  In my tunnel vision I had inadvertently rotated one end of the chain and was about to introduce a twist.

We are about a week away from finishing the bicycle.  Stay tuned.


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