Bike E – “Reno”

On Sunday we had an awful day weatherwise.  Gales, driving rain and very cool.  No cycling.

Monday saw the north of the state getting better and the south getting the gales.  156kph recorded on Mt Wellington overlooking Hobart and many lower areas had wind up in the low 100 kph (Lucky Tempo!).  We had wind still though and initially I wasn’t going out!  Instead I took the front wheel out of the Bike E and checked the bearings.  Not good.  There was some grease in there but it was a rusty colour!  I whacked some more in and bolted things back together.  Then I replaced the front and rear brake blocks that were just about worn out.  A thin sliver of rubber left on each.  The Launceston “Cycology” bike shop had replacement shoes – I was surprised.  The brakes didn’t work well as in one arm of each not returning properly.  Onto the internet and found I was working specifically on “side-pull linear brakes”.  Read about plastic spring holders, springs and spring tension and didn’t understand a thing.  Took the brake arms off, looked inside and all became clear.  Cleaned and re-tensioned and things worked.  Even the little adjustment screws actually did something.

The front wheel still didn’t seem good and complains (grumbles) a bit but I wanted to try the mods out so I set off to cycle the 15 k loop along Bishopsbourne Road and Wilmore’s Lane.

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Cycling into the wind was slow going but the low gears and legs spinning like crazy had us along Bishopsbourne and into Wilmore’s surprisingly without too much effort.  The real test turned out to be descending.  For the descents the wind was coming from behind and I just let the bike roll.  It was bad.  Every bump seemed to throw the steering out and corrections turned into overcorrections and the bike did not feel so good.  I braked, slowed down and regained control over the bike.  Two more hills to descend and each had to be tackled slowly.  Any attempt to speed up resulted in a strange wobbling and lack of tracking.  Not quite as bad as downhill, one-handed, on a Brompton but getting there.

Later in the day I found a group on Facebook – the Bike E Riders Group.  The members are very active, very proud of their Bike Es and the work they have done to keep them running. One member was key in the company that made the bikes.  Seeking advice and logging what I thought was wrong I explained the downhill problem and over the next few hours received a lot of advice how to fix.

Deciding that the crappy wheel must be part of the problem, I took it in to Cycology yesterday but they cannot mend it.  A new wheel is now on order.  I had found the cup and cones are chipped and worn as are the bearings – and there was a bearing missing on one side.  Cycology found a “spare” in an old box out the back and I patched up the wheel once more so I can use it until the new on arrives.  The old wheel remains noisy and feels lumpy so, I think, light use only.

Mr Atwood, the Bike E (BE) Guru, suggested making sure the air suspension was set correctly for my weight and height.  How to do this?  Where is a chart?  K from Hobart (the BE Owner) had a copy of the original manual and sent me a PDF and there was the calculation.  I found the air shock was currently about 30psi under for me so pumped it up a bit to 130psi.  Immediately things feel better.  Now to get the new wheel and then I will try descending hills again.

Once it has brakes, handles OK and generally functions properly we will take the bike back to Huonville for K to ride.

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but, who knows, an electric bicycle may make an appearance down the track

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