Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chuck's Attitude Adjustment

So a couple weeks ago, poor old Charlie Brown's seat got a bit twisted during the ride. This made it really uncomfortable--amazing what a difference an inch or two can make when it comes to comfort and fit on a bike.  Now on all my old beater bikes this year, an adjustment to the saddle was about the easiest thing to do and I had no problem fiddling with my old adjustable wrench to get the right height and straighten things out from time to time.

On the new Globe, this means actually having an Allen or hex wrench, which of course I have not "gotten around" to getting.  Well, during all those daydreams (in which I am a bikemaster and can Macgyver a bike out of some old shoestrings, an eraser and paperclips), I had been making a wishlist of bike tools in my mind.  I, of course, want to assemble a good repair kit but would also like some "tinkering tools" too I can rip stuff apart and put it back together.  I feel like there no better way to learn than by doing.  Well, that's a long way off.  So for now when I need to buy something (even inexpensive things) I try to think about what tool will be the most useful and convenient in a variety of situations.  "Bang for your buck" economics.  So while I was out hunting up some Allen wrenches I decided to go with a multitool type that I could throw in my repair kit down the road.  I ended up with the Park Tool AWS-9 which contains the 3 most commonly used hex wrenches along with regular Phillips and flathead screwdrivers and is about as long as my cell phone and half as wide.

In addition to being off the straight and narrow, my seat was a tad bit low.  While I was getting used to the new bike, it didn't seem to far off.  Now on a ride of more than about 5 minutes, my thighs start screaming with the slightest effort.  It basically makes my legs feel like they are having a permanent cramp.  I'm not usually one to shrink from pain, especially the "good" workout type of muscle pain which is sort of exciting because it reaffirms my suspicion that there are muscles under my padding!  But this discomfort from a too-low seat is another thing entirely.  Imagine walking up a flight of stairs (or 10) in your basic "duck walk" position.  It feels like your thighs might feel after doing that.  Twice.  And since it it a simple adjustment, there is just no reason to not fix it.

Finally I was able to make the slight and necessary adjustments.  Bonus that both issues can be taken care of in with the same adjustment.   Seat adjustments are so quick that I'm kicking myself for stalling and taking so long to dedicate 3 whole minutes to addressing the problem.

It's this easy:
Loosen bolt holding seatpost.
Move seat higher or lower
Make sure seat is aligned with frame
Tighten Bolt.

That's it folks.

Now I always take the time to mark  the "before" position of the seat with a Sharpe so if I get clumsy (highly likely) and drop the seat or bump it or whatever I still know where it was so I can make the adjustment.

Remember that small adjustments make a great deal of difference with bikes and don't be dramatic or drastic with your changes.  Since it takes all the time of peeling off a sock to do this adjustment, it's ok if you have to do it again later. 

Now I know my ride will be comfortable and my minor adjustment will mean I can go for longer rides without muscle fatigue. 

This short little fix was made better by the fact that I was listening to this:

Bookmark and Share

1 comment:

bikeolounger said...

Oh, my! I was digging on Glenn Miller music before I was even born. Great stuff for getting in a bike-fixing mood, for sure!

It's fun to watch folks like you learning about bikes with the same enthusiasm I had doing so. It's a big reason why I'm a bicycle educator (see and look up a League Cycling Instructor in your area).