after some oatmeal for lunch i went to the post office to mail off my state tax returns ($2.12 in postage). i was expecting a long line but it wasn't that bad (5 customers ahead of me). earlier this morning i already paid my federal taxes through free e-file. while i was at it i also paid my property tax (not due until may but might as well it get out of the way). after taxes, a few grands poorer!
most of the afternoon was spent out on my backyard deck working on some bikes. the weather was pleasant with temperature in the 60's, warm enough to work in a t-shirt. earlier i'd wheeled out the jetter road bike i picked up for free. i knew the 2 wheels needed some minor truing, but wanted to see what else needed fixing. given the large size of the frame, i was surprised how light it was.
old bikes like these don't have quick releases. i used a 13mm socket wrench to remove the front wheel while the back wheel required a 15mm socket. i was glad to see eyelets on the front and rear dropouts.
using some WD-40 and a rag, i wiped-clean the frame. it actually has a nice paint job, a glittery blue color.
apart from the wheels i also removed the chain. although not the most rusted chain i've ever seen, some segments were corroded enough that they didn't bend easily. i made sure i didn't push the pin out completely because i might want to reuse the chain since i don't plan on spending too much to fix this bike. i've got a roommate arriving in september and this is the bike i was going to give him to ride (i heard he's tall, hopefully tall enough to fit this frame).
the brake pads need to be replacement since the rubber has already hardened. they're actually weinmann brev pads, black on the front wheel, red for the rear wheel. the pads don't have too much wear but not very good at stopping.
i didn't get a chance to true the wheels yet, nor remove the rust on the chainset. i was going to use a brillo pad but they can be messy and need to be rinsed with water afterwards; i'll probably resort to some WD-40 and a simple steel wool pad.
next i worked on my trek 800. the fact that it doesn't shift smoothly bothers me, especially since i spent so much time updating the shifters from grip shifters to thumb shifters. it seems to be an issue with the rear derailleur alignment, but i also wonder if it has something to do with wire tension and barrel adjustments. it bothers me enough that i'm seriously thinking about taking the bike into the local shop, despite the fact that the very idea offends my sensibility as an amateur bike mechanic. or i could just buy a brand new rear derailleur for as little as $11, probably cheaper than having it serviced (provided the problem isn't something wrong with the derailleur hanger).
the trek 800 may be heavy, and it may be ugly, and it doesn't go as fast as some other bikes, but it's like a comfortable old pair of shoes. it shifts better than my old road bikes primarily because it has more modern shifters. my road bikes feel tight, like i'm fighting against the gearing, but after a while i get used to it. the trek 800 however feels loose, and with easy shifting, it rides smoother (albeit slower). my dream bike is something with the same comforts as the trek but with just larger wheels (700c or 27"). that's why i'm still trolling craig's list, despite already amassing 9 bikes in my collection.
it was also warm enough that i managed to open a few windows to air out the house. i lit some incense in the bathroom. i still have my heat turned on and i'm trying to figure out when i can turn it off for the season. if i didn't have a roommate i would've probably shut down the furnace a month ago, during that long stretch of warm weather.
those stack of unwanted books on the sidewalk i saw yesterday? i went and found the only hardcover amongst the paperbacks. i'm going to turn it into a hollow book safe. the fact that i'm even talking about it is probably a bad idea. the one that i got has 386 pages (good thickness), a romance novel written by debbie macomber titled 204 rosewood lane.
i knew from my package tracking that my bike floor pump would arrive today. i also knew my mailman wouldn't leave it on my doorstep if i didn't answer the door, but i didn't want to be a slave to the waiting game. nevertheless, every so often i'd stop whatever i was doing and go look out the living room window to see if the mail van had arrived or not. i figured even if i missed him, i'd still be able to track him down before he left for the day. what i didn't want was to go wait in line at the post office again so close to tax day.
besides bike repair, i also threw out a bunch of empty boxes from the basement. these were boxes that i kept, thinking one day i might need to mail something and would require a box of a specific size. i kept a few large ones (to send to norway) but threw out everything else. this gave me a chance to practice my knife skill as i broke down the boxes and stuffed them into the recycle bins.
my package finally arrived around 4:00, the serfas TCPG floor pump ($32). the first thing i noticed was how big it was, since i'm used to inflating my tires with a small hand pump. why it's called the TCPG i still don't know, and there's no information online to reveal what it stands for. i went out back and pumped the tires on my trek 800. they were only rated to 65 psi so it wasn't much of a challenge. the gauge told me the tire pressure was previously at 40 psi. i then went down to the basement to pump the road bikes, the fuji and the denali. both were only at 40 psi pressure, which i guess is how much i can do with only a hand pump. using a floor pump was much easier; it took about 6 pumps to get from 40 psi to 100 psi, which is what set the road tires to. there was so much pressure that when i went to go release the pump head, it almost flew off from the valve. i like the simple pump head design, which made easy work of my hybrid-tubed denali with its one presta and one schrader valve.
i got a chance to try out the newly-inflated wheels when my mother called asking me to come down to the cafe to pick up some more meat buns they'd just made. i picked the fuji road bike as my test vehicle. i really didn't notice any improvements in the ride. if anything, it felt harder since there wasn't any bounce in the tires anymore. i also noticed something during the ride: the scent of cloves in the air, the fragrance of some particular flowering tree that i can't identify.
ever since the weather warmed up and the flowers began to bloom, i've been having these intermittent ticklings in the back of my throat. they usually happen while i'm in bed getting ready to sleep, and hinder my takeoff to slumber land. i don't normally get spring allergies (unlike in the fall when i'm at the mercy of ragweeds) so this is the extent of my symptoms, but it's still annoying. finally today i broke out my bottle of prescription nasal spray (i actually have 3! of varying vintage).
my roommate finally paid the rent when he came home from the office around 8:30. he must've had dinner already because he didn't make his usual noodles.
i watched a great celtics game, against the heat in miami. i figured the heat would naturally win since they were playing at home, so i didn't watch the game from the start but rather tuned in during the 2nd quarter. when i saw that boston was leading, i stayed to watch. the celtics recently spanked the heat at home, and tonight they beat the heat again. miami wasn't going down quietly, but boston was on fire, shooting at 60%. heat and celtics meet one last time at the very end of the regular season.