Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Juli's Wheels -- Finished!

Just a short, final post about my wheelbuilding experience today.

Monday night was the final wheelbuilding class at Broadway Bicycle School.  The process was largely the same for the front wheel as I described for the rear wheel a couple of weeks ago -- a gradual and repetitive process of tightening spokes for tension, dish and true.  Once again, it was neither hard nor frustrating, but rather an engaging and deliberate process.  It would probably have been harder solo, though -- it was great to have Dave there as an expert resource to provide guidance.

The wheels look great -- nice and shiny -- and they should serve Juli well on her Schwinn frame.  I picked up rim tape and a 7-speed Shimano freewheel last night, as well, and need to buy some tubes and relatively narrow (32mm or so) 650B tires before the wheelset is complete.  The only mechanical work left on the wheels is to carefully lift the seals on the hubs' cartridge bearings and make sure they have enough fresh grease.  And I think the only other parts I need to start the Schwinn's build at this point are cables and housing (blue) and a stubby 1" threadless stem.

Tallying up the bill for the parts and the class, it's clear this wasn't a way to save money -- I could order a set of wheels from Velo-Orange for less than I spent on this experience.  But this really was never a scheme for saving money, as I doubt that my personal lifetime need for new bicycle wheels would offset the cost of tools alone needed to repeat this process on my own.  This has really been about the experience, about doing something that most people, even avid cyclists, will never do.  And what a great experience!  I understand a great deal more about the hoops that hold us up, and should be well-armed for keeping the wheels for which I am caretaker spinning true.

Having recently spent some time working on his bike (which I apparently made look easy), a friend of mine suggested last night that I find a part-time job working at a bike shop.  Just a few hours here and there working in the service area for fun, he said.  I do love working on bikes, and I think I largely know what I'm doing.  And earning a little cash to feed my bike part habit would be useful.  But it wouldn't be about money, and I'm not sure that's really the right forum for exercising this hobby.  Maybe volunteering for a local earn-a-bike program or Bikes Not Bombs or something.

I've got Juli's bike to build up this winter, of course, and what will become Ava's Fuji to tear down.  But my own bikes are far fewer in number this year than they've been, and neither of them really needs more than a few minutes of work during the coming off-season.  I'm going to run out of bike projects early, and it would be good to find another outlet.  Anyone have any other ideas?

All for now,


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