Bicycle Maintenance

My old bike computer has been dysfunctional since the beginning of the riding season, probably just a broken wire that I could repair if I tried, but I also wanted to upgrade to something wireless and get a cadence sensor, so what better time? I inspected the wares down at Kentwood Schwinn, where a sale was going on and for where I had a $20 gift card. I quickly struck the idea of a bike GPSr off my list of options when I found out how crazy expensive they are compared to familiar hiking GPSrs. After an internal debate over the various Bontrager bike computers, from the less expensive analog sensor models to the the more expensive digital sensor ones, I settled on the Node 2 digital with both speed and cadence sensors. The speed sensor had to be ordered, which gave me extra time to ruminate on the buyer's remorse I might be putting myself into, but in the end, my original disposition lasted the onslaught of doubt and I bought the thing. I went back one last time to have the mechanic at the store install the new computer, as it came with no installation instructions, but enough parts to make the correct way non-obvious, at least for a newb like me.

The Node 2 is a neat device: it comes with a heart-rate sensor on a chest strap and has a built-in thermometer and altimeter. The heart-rate sensor is mildly interesting to me, something I will try, but maybe not use regularly. I haven't got it working yet, but that's something to research and experiment with. The other features are surely useful. Tangentially, I took the opportunity raised by this episode find out how to pronounce Bontrager, a word I had long looked askance at — and now I know, for this very question is item number one in the FAQ at the Bontrager website.

Today I took a ride to Ada Bike to order a new stem and ask the mechanic about my rear derailleur — it clatters against the spokes when I shift to the biggest cog. I am going to replace the stem on my bike with a shorter one (in the horizontal dimension) to the effect that my riding posture will be more upright. This should address the pain I get near the top thoracic vertebra during long rides, because I will not be extending my neck so severely. The news on the derailleur was surprising: the reason it hits the spokes on the biggest cog is not merely a matter of adjustment, but that both the derailleur hanger and the derailleur itself are bent. The former needs repair, the latter replacement. And oh, while we're at it, need a new chain and gear cluster, but I sort of knew that was coming and had just been delaying taking care of it. On the bent derailleur, I think this damage happened either in my accident last year, or in one of the many times I have loaded my bike into the back of the truck, or the cumulative effect of both. And some time in these following days I need to replace my back tire. This is bicycle maintenance.