Saturday, April 30, 2011

Back in the Saddle

A week or two ago, John - an old pal from my Mackie Design days - emailed me with a list of links from Craigslist, looking for a used mountain bike. John hasn't ridden in years, after a serious mountain bike crash with injuries, but was looking to ride again. Out of the list, a late '90s model Kona looked decent. John later picked it up for a fair price, and I told him I'd check it out once he purchased it. Today would be the day.

The Kona appeared to be the low mileage deal; aluminum frame, lower end Marzocchi fork, Avid v-brakes, XT rear derailleur, STX everywhere else. After checking it over, found the shifting to be off - way off. The rear 8 speed operating like a 4 speed. The STX shifter itself seemed to be toast. I took the shifter apart, though not fully, and it appeared okay. We called a local shop, hoping to score an old school Shimano 8 speed shifter. Bike shop dude said to try soaking the shifter in solvent, they sometimes gum up. I'm thinking no way that's gonna do anything, but we give it a shot. After a short bath in Pedros degreaser - poof - 4 speed now clicking like an 8 speed. Wacky, learn something new everyday. After new derailleur cable to replace fraying old one, all is shifting as intended.

Front shifting also needed some work. After some derailleur tweaking and Pedros bath on the left shifter, working as well. Checked the rest of the bike out, changed grips, set saddle height, pumped up the air fork - and it was ready to roll - with John giving it the thumbs up. Picture above as proof. Pretty cool to get an old bike and pal on the trail. A cheap way to test the mountain bike waters once again. If it doesn't work out, or an upgrade is deemed in order, could resell the Kona and recoup the investment. Good cheap all around fun.

A few hours after the wrench fest, sun setting, I hit the local woods for a quick solo spin. My favorite riding pal, son Ian, whacked again with a nice head cold - second one in 3 weeks - skipped the ride for some rest. This also being my first ride post dental surgery - all systems go - occasional twinge, but no real pain. Excellent.

This ride not mentioned for health reasons, but for something a bit more comical. As I was cruising through the grassy park section of St Eds, noticed some guy flying an RC plane. I stopped to watch for minute, him buzzing the plane behind me, kinda low over my head. While I was thinking maybe he that intentionally, 3 seconds later, plane slams into the empty seminary building - about two stories up - with a healthy sound of shattering plastic and styrofoam. As the pieces slide down the wall, engine revving for added effect, into the ground - can't help but to grin a little. Pretty entertaining. I ride off as the dude walks towards the scale sized wreckage.

As I head back into the woods, still laughing a bit about the RC plane spectacle, ride past an older woman walking with a cane on the singletrack. I give her a polite "How are you doing", and she responds with a "I'm just glad to be outside."

Yup, I'd have to agree with that.


  1. Awesome, a revitalized bike and a born again biker. Yahoo. You should get an award for amabasador for the sport. :-)

  2. I think getting an old bike up and running for a friend is just as cool as them getting a new bike.

  3. Thanks. Yeah, I honestly get a kick outta getting people riding. Fun to see.