Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nothing in Life is True

It’s always been a point of pride of mine to maintain all of my own equipment. I don’t hold anything against the cyclist who takes his bike into a shop, but I’ve personally always drawn a sort of zen pleasure out of bike maintenance. So, when I decided to purchase a new ride this fall, that made the decision to build it myself an easy one. I’d never assembled a bike from parts before, so it was a fun and educational experience. Everything when pretty well to plan and after a bit of fiddling around the bike has turned out great. Then, when I decided to move into training with a power meter the choice was clear: for my budget and the experience, I would buy a used powertap hub and rebuild my wheel around it.
First, I purchased the spokes and nipples from the lovely Sellwood Cycles, who helped make sure I had the right lengths. Next, I read Sheldon Brown’s excellent article on wheel building. To make sure I had the whole process straight, I probably read that page top-to-bottom three or four times. In middle school, my shop teacher always used to say, “measure twice cut once,” a philosophy that saves the mindful craftsmen many a head slapping “dough!” moment. Even if it takes you longer to complete your project, it won’t take as much time as if you had to take it apart and do it over again.
I took my time, about three hours of it, but I managed to get everything woven together. The tensioning of the wheel was actually most difficult, but even that didn’t go too bad. I took it out for a quick spin and was pleased that it stayed together. Of course, I took it back down to Sellwood a few days later and they gave it some fine truing and brought the spoke tension up a little bit, but overall it was a successful endeavor. If you plan on investing in a new wheel set, take a look at the custom built route. It was fun gives you another level of intimacy with your machine. Know the bike. Know your body. Know victory!
P.S. I like the guy in the background of that image who looks like he's just pumped to be finishing. That's always pretty dope too!

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