Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

If you're bored with my bottom bracket incompetence, surf away before it's too late!

If, however, you take great joy in the misfortunes of others, have I got a post for you.

So I'd had issues with a cross-threaded BB cup (that I now know I can blame on Former Neighbor Steve for polluting my garage with his bad cross-threading juju), but I'd stolen a cup from another bike that (I thought) was compatible and (I thought) fixed the problem. Did a few rides on the bike, including a fast (for me) out-and-back 26-miler to Cumming, IA Thursday night. No creaks, no rattles, smooth spinning.

Then I saddled up for my commute home yesterday. Got about five blocks from work when things started feeling wrong. Pedals were wobbly underfoot, and each turn of the cranks made this awful grinding sound. Oh crap.

Stopped, assessed the situation, and realized that either a) the cup I
thought was compatible actually wasn't, or b) I was too timid after the cross-threading adventure and didn't torque the cup down hard enough. Said cup had backed its way out of the frame far enough to let the cartridge BB rattle around (causing the wobbly feeling) and grind the chainring into the shiny, formerly-pristine metallic brown repaint on my right chainstay (thus the awful sound).

No way I can fix that by the side of the road, and no way I can ride it home. And my cell phone barely has enough juice to make one call.

In the words of the poet Homer, "DOH!"

I managed to get a quick "myphoneisdyingpleasecomepickmeupatthecornerofsecondandMLK" call to my wife and get rescued, but it was NOT how I'd hoped my day would end.

Today, I put in a different cup and torqued that sucker to "gorilla." We'll see if that does the trick.


Amy said...

The real question is, did said wife understand your cell phone mumbling and come fetch you with the sag wagon? Amy

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Oh yeah, she's driven sag long enough to know that if I'm desperate enough to call, she'd better come running. Normally, my stubborn Midwestern streak kicks in, I duct-tape the thing together somehow, and I limp through the door several hours later. It takes a pretty major malfunction for me to admit defeat. I'm kind of dumb like that. :-)

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, back in the days of cup 'n cone BB's, I learned when to replace the fixed cup. The correct time is when there is pitting at the bearing path in the cup.

If you wait too long, like I did, then the cup can crack along the bearing path. This happened when I was starting off from a stop sign, about 7 miles from home. It's amazing how the ball bearings go shooting out of the BB when this happens! :-)

In those days before cell phones, I was fortunate to be riding with a buddy who was a skilled bike handler. He was able to give me a tow most of the way home (I had to walk up the one hill).

My bike maintenance skills have improved significantly since those days!

Steve K.

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