Friction – turning into ire

When Mood Music
2012-04-05 14:26:00

With apologies to Morcheeba

I had planned to meet my mentor this morning at Napier, then spend the rest of the day in the library, looking for references to back up what I’m saying in my web-enabled business coursework. Meeting my mentor went well – thanks Natalie!

However, I’d also been somewhat irked by Lev Davidovitch’s brakes still rubbing badly. On the way back from spinning last night, I had to drop a couple of gears to compensate. Since I’d just spend an hour deliberately riding against friction and was still working off cramp in my right leg, I wanted a smooth ride home! I also needed a replacement helmet cover (the original had blown off and away on Tuesday morning) and another pair of shorts (2 pairs isn’t enough considering I’m spinning twice a week and cycling distances at weekends) while my hostess’ new leggings were supposed to have arrived at the co-op this morning.

So I took LD and his bulging panniers back to the bike co-op to ask what was causing the friction. (I tend to start by assuming that I’m the cause of my problems – in this case I feared that Randolph Crescent’s cobbles might have jolted or buckled the wheels enough to cause the brake rotors to move agaisnt the pads.) However, I was pleased to learn that I wasn’t the cause after all.

It turns out that LD and his siblings were built with road-bike brake-callipers, i.e. with a fairly narrow gap to contain brake pads and disks. (By contrast, mountain bike callipers have large gaps to allow for the inevitable bashings and distortions they’ll suffer, so friction is far less likely and more tolerated.) The problem was that the manufacturers of LD’s brakes had worked to poor tolerances and I’d had the bad luck to get a duff set. The co-op has offered to replace the relevant parts with new ones, of a different brand which is manufactured to better tolerances (and better all round) – and to say sorry with a voucher.

However, the new parts would take a while to arrive – so Gordon the mechanic was tasked with trying to make LD’s brakes work tolerably until then. I was asked to leave LD with them for 20 minutes so went to a nearby coffee shop to drink tea. However, when I returned, all the world and his boyfriend had been bothering the mechanics so LD still wasn’t ready. Also, the front calliper had bent the disk so Gordon was trying to bring it back into shape. After around another half-while I’d pondered – and rejected – buying an under-saddle or in-frame bag for the tools I like to carry, Gordon brought LD out of the workshop. Both brakes are much better – there’s still some friction once per rotation of the front wheel. However, until the new callipers arrive, I’m told I can bring LD in again for running repairs. The co-op will supply and fit the new callipers free of charge – and have reiterated their promise of recompense for selling a bike with duff bits. Thanks to Chris (who seems to work mostly in bike sales) for advising me what the problem is, making sure it will be fixed and recompensed and to Gordon the mechanic for doing running repairs in the meantime.

So after getting this off my head and into the blog (and eating spud, salad and beans – which might amuse Fiona), it’s time to crack on with Uni work.


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