Some successful bike fettling

Last night, when Jan and I went to our tai chi class, we noticed that her bike had developed a click, once per pedal revolution. When we got home I tried a few experiments and discovered that I could feel the click if I gripped either crank and rocked the bike back and forth whilst applying gentle forward pressure on the crank. This should not happen to a bike that is not yet 6 months old.

I telephoned Thorn Cycles to ask advice and spoke to Steve, one of their mechanics. He wanted to be 100% sure that it was the bottom bracket and not a pedal, so he asked me to take the pedals off, grease the threads and replace them and also check that all five crank-arm bolts were done up tightly. They were, and the click was still there.

In the event I took the cranks off, for which I had to find my crank-pulling tool which I have not used for at least 25 years, and I discovered that I had a tool for tightening bottom brackets, which was in a kit I bought a few years ago and had never used. I managed to tighten the BB, reassembled the bike, and the click seems to have gone.

Later, I succeeded in removing the sprocket form the tandem’s Rohloff hub, something which has never been done before in over 11000 miles of cycling. This made me especially pleased, since I damaged the Rohloff of my solo machine when I attempted the same job a few weeks ago, and I had to send it back to Thorn to get it repaired.

Next I took the chain rings off and cleaned them – another job which I should have done before. They really need replacing so I’ve ordered some new ones. I also went to Richardsons’ and bought a new chain.

Removing a seatpost

My old Carradice saddlebag has seen better days so I have invested in a Carradice Super-C saddlebag and an SQR quick-release device. The trouble is that I don’t think it’s a good idea to fit such things to a carbon seatpost. Carradice thought it would be OK but Thorn deprecated the idea.

I bought a new seatpost at Richardson’s Bike Shop but removing the old seatpost was, as ever, a real fight. It took two of us, one holding the bike and the other wielding two hefty screwdrivers which had been clamped where the saddle rails normally go, about 10 minutes’ sweating and grunting to shift the thing.

I have put plenty of lithium grease down the seat tube, but the consensus seems to be that, although this is a good idea, it’s necessary to remove the seatpost, ot at least, move it around, every few months to avoid it seizing. It really is a difficult job, even for two. Single-handed, it would be a nightmare.