Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Unrelated Pictures, with Stories:

My bike wasn't shifting chainrings very well. Since transfering my old parts to my new frame, the problem persisted. It wasn't so bad, but the shifting was, shall we say, muddy?

You might call it that.

I don't know if you can actually tell how thick the muck is here, but since I can't remember the last time I actually took my chainrings off to clean them, and ride in all sortsa Cascadian conditions, well, here's the result. Also, one thing SRAM got right with its design is its crankbolts: rather than a bolt threading into a little round nut, with a little notch in it to hold the sucker steady as you tighten it, you have a two-bolt system, with a 6mm hollow outer bolt threading into a 5mm inner bolt that you tighen against the outer one from behind. The result is a system that can't back itself out. I'm guessing this is SRAM's mountain bike heritage at work.

Last year I backed out one of my Campagnolo crankbolts somewhere along my ride. While nothing terrible happens immediately if you loose one of five, it definitely needed replacing, and the OEM Campy part cost something like seven dollars, plus two for the washer thingee that keeps it in place. Not a huge expense, but, come on. Nine dollars for a bolt and a washer? These parts were almost literally worth their weight in gold.

So, thanks, SRAM, for making a decent system. If the new Red shifters can manage chainring shifts with a little more speed and less lever travel, as they presume, I'll be even happier. Of course, I'll have to score some Red shifters to figure that one out...

Here is a quarter. Did you ever notice that "Twenty-Five Cents" appears nowhere in either word or symbol on these things? Just the little lettering on the bottom that says, "Quarter Dollar." If you know neither English nor math, well, best of luck.

Anyway, I'd like you to notice two things about this quarter. Number one, it is fairly shiny, though clearly it's suffered a bit of abuse as of late. Second, it's from nineteen sixty-five. That year itself is fairly unremarkable -- there were a lot of 1965 quarters minted, because of a quirk relating from the switch from silver to base-metal coins in the previous year. Nevermind that. The point is that I found this quarter in the road when my Aunt Cathy called. This is remarkable because I don't have an Aunt Cathy.

The phone call went something like this: I answer the phone, and the woman on the line asks, "Where are you?"

"I'm sorry?" I say, "What?"

"Where are you?" she asks again.

"Um, who's this?"

"It's your Aunt Cathy!" says Aunt Cathy, dumbfounded.

Clearly this Portland area code had no intention of calling some dude on a bike in Tacoma, but as I tell her she's got the wrong number, I spotted George over there in the parking lot. It's just kind of weird thinking about the age of this chunk of copper and nickel, what it's been through. It's from my parents' generation, I mean. Most of you will probably say, who cares? And, you're right, the answer is, not many people. But when I imagine just how different the world of 1965 was from the one of today, when I consider all of the things George here, has seen and done, I don't know, it just makes me pause and reflect for a moment.

I guess these folks care about this kind of thing. But a dollar bill doesn't really last very long -- eighteen months, on average -- which is one of the reasons I'm an advocate of dollar coins, which is another part of our cultural inertia. If George the One Dollar Bill has been around for a year, I can get my head around it. Quarter George turns forty-three this year.

Chris says he can't ride more than five minutes without listening to music. The silence would drive him crazy. Me, I have this kind of thing to occupy my mind with.

I am not sure that it is an improvement.


  • At 7:14 PM , Anonymous cruzer2424 said...

    hmm... you should check out New Zeland money. The bills are made of plastic, not that cotton/paper blend American money is made from. Supposedly they last _much_ longer. *shrug*

  • At 7:15 PM , Anonymous cruzer2424 said...

    p.s. what new frame didja get?

  • At 8:32 PM , Blogger josh said...

    you should see what my rings look like after a few cross races.....

  • At 10:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I think you are talking about chainring bolts. Crank bolts hold the crank arms to your bottom bracket.

  • At 10:36 PM , Blogger Argentius said...

    yeah, anon, yer right, but y'all get the point.

    chainring bolts then.

  • At 6:09 PM , Blogger Miriam said...

    You're slacking on the blogging.


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