Wednesday, February 3, 2010

star mangled nut.

i have been projecting lately. 

i have been planning all kinds of expenditures and upgrades in anticipation of some debt-lessening that is (hopefully) imminent. a jolly old christmas list, mostly for other people to whom i owe much and would just like to send a pretty little 'thank you'. i got caught up in it, and started thinking about things for myself. a new stem for the serotta. capping off that perfect build with a lighter seatpost and saddle. maybe some fancy aero wheels. thankfully, my ADD kicked in before i zeroed in on any acceptable stem, saddle, or seatpost, and the guy with the wheels seems to also have ADD and is currently AWOL. fair enough. i can let it slide. 

*** technical jargon bike story that relates but not obviously***

once upon a time, i bought a carbon cross fork from a guy just up the street. he had listed it on craigslist for a song, so i walked up and picked it up and let it sit for the entire summer and much of the fall before even embarking on the job of installing it. i had none of the right tools other than a hammer and a hack saw, and this is one of those things that requires the right tools - substitutes usually spell danger, dismemberment, or death. finally, i purchased a section of ABS from the hardware store, took apart the brake assembly, and switched out the forks. the seller was a total bike nut and very quirky but cool and made sure to mention that he had never been able to install the fork without extensive brake chatter. he had tried all brands and models of brakes, to no avail. i figured maybe i could be lucky, maybe i needed to shim the bosses with a coke can and all would be well, maybe i could just tolerate a shudder or two at every damn stop sign. i installed the fork, learned a lot along the way, and rode it for the better part of two months. chatter everywhere. tightening the headset only worked sometimes, and then the effect would fade and it was back to chatter. i also had neglected to cut the steerer tube to a reasonable length, figuring it would up the re-sale value of the thing should i decide to pass it on. one night, i tightened the headset and the top cap came off in my hand. i walked home, switched to a different bike, and promised to fix it. weeks went by. it snowed. one day, i was home from work with a sick toddler, and figured there was no better time to break out a hacksaw and hammer and get to the source of the problem. i trimmed the steerer tube. took out the mangled star nut. put in a new one, completely crookedly, hoped for the best, and put everything back together. i tightened the hell out of the headset with the new star nut and it worked like a charm. not only that - there was absolutely ZERO fork chatter. zip. none. quiet as a whisper, especially since i took the time to toe in all of the brake pads at the same time. the fork functions perfectly, looks even better than it did before, and has greatly increased the safety and efficiency of the ride. all it took was some effort, and the willingness to work with what i had right in front of me. get to the source of the problem (star mangled nut), fix it (new nut), do a good job (mostly), and move on, better for it. 


i tend to get very obsessive about things, daydreams based on things that i hope to soon have (fitness, health, springtime, warmer days with longer light), and all the specs on how to get the things, install them, adjust them, then..look at them and wish it was warm or cold or morning or night or the weekend or at work or... 

it's okay. 

it's fine. it will be fine, just like it always has. like i told my friend who asked about being ready to be a parent, living life in preparation to be an example to someone, a provider, a source: you're never ready till it happens, and then, you're ready. tonight, everything was put into perspective, as it usually is, every night around 7pm. there were no wheels, seatposts, carbon fiber, grams, spoke counts, or stem lengths to be figured and planned and calculated. there was a little girl with brown hair to put to bed and be made cozy. (to behold a sleeping child is to know absolute peace.) 

forget everything else. it all works out in the end. 

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