So, previously on Town Mouse I had been given a shiny new bike maintenance stand and got as far as opening the box before realising this was going to be a major engineering project in its own right, so I put it away again until I had more time to deal with it properly.
There, if I’m honest, it might have stayed had the bike not taken matters into its own hands (or pedals or whatever might be the bike equivalent). Its back brake has been purely advisory for a while and was beginning to make interesting grinding noises when I had to stop in a hurry, so on Tuesday I made it to a bike shop and bought some brake pads which proved unexpectedly straightforward.*
And there, indeed, the matter might have rested further still, with me cycling around braking with the front brake only and a nice set of brake pads in my pannier bag, had the bike not escalated things by developing a New Noise – an interesting grinding ratchet sound on the down stroke of my right pedal which I had tentatively diagnosed as a worn pedal bearing – so today I decided it was time to get it up on the stand and have a proper look at it.
Of course, this proved easier said than done.
What is the point of numbering all the parts in the little exploding bike stand diagram if you don’t number the corresponding parts in real life? (Also, why would you paint all your washers a nice matt black and then pack them in a plastic bag which violently tears apart on opening distributing matt black washers to the four winds?)
However, with only a little assistance from the other half, the stand was soon*** assembled and the patient hoisted up on it.
The first thing you discover when you get a bike maintenance stand is just how filthy your bike is (the second thing is that Park Tools blue does nothing for the blue of my bike …).
After a wash, a tiny amount of headscratching, and a bit more assistance from the other half (‘left to loosen’ ‘I know. I just don’t know which way is left’) I had replaced the brake pads AND properly centred the brakes so I am no longer riding around with them on, which should do wonders for my speed, especially given how many kilos of muck I must have washed off it. I think the new pads may have been a little overdue, too…
Oh and the new noise? bent front chain ring making the chain rattle against the derailleur. A doddle to diagnose on the stand…
* Normally when I try and work out what part I might need for my bike, I always worry I’m going to end up starring in a version of the Hi Fi shop sketch in Not the Nine o’Clock News.** As it was I had brought my bike with me and when the assistant asked ‘what sort of bike’ I was able to point to it and apparently it’s a normal one.
** and if that doesn’t date me, nothing will.
*** an hour. Don’t mock.