Rainy maintenance day

Freshly washed bicycle on balcony overlooking cityscape

With typhoons battering western Japan and on-and-off rain in Tokyo, today was a good day for some maintenance. I had a few things I wanted to accomplish today:

  • Seal the weeping sidewalls
  • Replace the squeaky brake pads
  • Wash my dirty bike

Those darn weeping sidewalls

Bicycle wheel and tire pump showing zero pressure
Doesn’t even move the needle

Ever since I finally succeeded in converting Kuroko to tubeless, she’s been plagued by weeping sidewalls. I pump the tires up to 50-60psi, and within a few hours they’re at 20 or lower. This morning the tires felt firm enough to roll Kuroko up from the basement garage to the elevator on 1F, but when I got the pump on there wasn’t even enough pressure to move the needle.

With the wheels off the bike, I shook and swirled them around a bit to listen for the sloshing of liquid sealant inside. Once I confirmed there was plenty of sealant, I pumped each tire up to 50psi. Immediately I heard leaking from pinholes in the sidewalls. By holding the wheels flat and swirling them from side to side, I was able to slosh the sealant over the pinholes and the hissing immediately stopped. Beads of fresh sealant appeared where it was filling up the pinholes.

White blobs of sealant on a beige bicycle tire sidewall
White blobs o’ goodness

As I’ve got Dionysus now for commuting (if there are any non-rainy days this week), the earliest I’ll be riding Kuroko is next weekend. So I’ll keep her on the balcony this week and try to repeat the inflate-and-swirl procedure at least once a day to try to finally put an end to the weeping.

I should have been doing this during the three weeks of August that I didn’t ride at all …

Those darn howling discs

The brakes have been a lot quieter since my unintentional ride in the rain, but there’s still been the occasional squeal. Although the brake pads had plenty of wear left in them, I decided to switch (back) to resin (organic) pads, which are much less prone to squealing.

Package of bicycle disc brake pads and hex wrench set
Keep it down, will ya?

I’ve changed the pads on a couple of occasions before, first when I returned home from Lejog, so I know the routine. It’s quite easy to remove the retaining pin and push out the old pads.

Bicycle disk brake caliper
At least they’re all right-hand thread

Old and new disc brake pads with retaining pin and hex wrench
The old and the new

There was some odd wear on the lower corners of the outboard rear pad. After a couple of minutes of thought I realized it was probably caused by me not being careful enough to line up the disc when I’m putting the wheel back in place. I’ll have to take more care in future. (I’m usually concentrating on the opposite side, getting the chain on the cogs and getting the derailleur out of the way.)

Hand holding a disc brake pad with lower edges worn away
That’s an odd place for wear

It took just a few more seconds to insert the new pads, and then I spent a couple of minutes adjusting the brakes. On the stand, they’re silent. It will be a few days at least before I can get the pads bedded in and then we’ll see about the noise situation.

Clean up your act

Close-up of mud-spattered bicycle crankset
Once again, filth

I know some people like to wash their bicycles after every ride, but that’s just a bit mendokusai for me. I last washed Kuroko on Aug. 1, following the Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road ride (on which occasion I also added latex sealant to the tires). And then on the very next day, I rode through some puddles on my way to Disneyland.

Montage: detail of mud-spattered bicycle
Dirt and grime

Kuroko sat like that in the basement parking for three weeks and then I rode her as is to Yokohama and back last weekend. But today, with the bicycle already up in the Workshop in the Sky, I didn’t have any excuse. In fact, the pressure washer was already filled up with water. So I got out the spray cleanser and brushes and went to work.

Bicycle covered in soapy water
Rub-a-dub-dub

I think I did a bit better job than usual this time. Pretty pleased with the results. I also scrubbed the saddlebag, which mostly protects my back from the mud flung up by the rear wheel.

Freshly washed bicycle on balcony overlooking cityscape
Slightly cleaner Kuroko

I actually forgot one important step until I started writing this blog: cleaning and oiling the chain. I got out on the balcony after lunch and took care of that.

Not perfect yet

There are still a couple of things to take care of. The issue with the front shifter is back, and with a vengeance. This would have been another great project for last month when I basically wasn’t cycling (but I was extremely busy). And there’s a tear in the handlebar tape which isn’t really a problem at all, but I’ll probably redo the tape when I get around to fixing the front shifter.

Bonus handyman content

Several months ago, Nana dropped one of the cooking pots and dented it. The pot was still perfectly usable, except that the lid no longer fit.

Dented pot
Dented pot

Cooking pot after hammering out dent
Looking better

I’ve been meaning to get to it for some time. So today after I’d finished with Kuroko, I wrapped a cloth around the mallet and gave the pot a few good whacks. It actually bends far more easily than I’d expected, and in the end, after testing the fit against the lid, I ended up giving it a couple of taps in the opposite direction.

The result is pleasing: the lid is a good fit once again. In fact, when I showed the pot to Nana she didn’t realize what I’d done until I put the lid on it and showed her how it fit.

Mallet head wrapped in cloth
Blunting the impact

Cooking pot with lid
A good fit once again

(I know — I need to clean up that lid a lot better!)

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