Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Silencing your bike's disc brake in about 15 minutes. Basic Bicycle Maintenance.

Yes, I am wordy.  This needs either a video which there are plenty of them on youtube, or a lot of words.  I do words...

The time to do this is after you got caught out in the rain, or you are trucking your bike out to where you want to ride.  The bike now sounds like a screaming baby or a goat or some other animal.  Time to fix that!

If you followed the post on how to lube the wheel hubs on your bike, you probably have done exactly what I did.  Basically, I have a heavy hand when it comes to oiling things, so as you rode, your oil spun out of the hub and got on the brake disc.  Now your brake pads are "contaminated" with oil and stopping is more a matter of just how much grip strength you have in your hands rather than in the braking system on your bike.

Old school caliper brakes would most likely not be effected.

The overview is simple, braking surfaces have to be clean and free of grease, grit, and oils.  If there is oil, you slide.  That's why we use the stuff. 

To clean your braking system, there are steps and you can do it in your own home.  It takes me about 15 minutes once I have everything assembled.

Remember that anything you remove from the bike will be put back on the bike or you will need new replacements for future use.  Since most of these items are specialized, make sure they don't roll "under the couch" and are guarded for later.

First, get your equipment.

  • Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone (Remember perform this with adequate ventilation!)
  • Paper towels
  • Pliers
  • Optional light strength thread locker (Permatex Blue)
  • Sand Paper (I used 100 grit or "Medium" but a 200 or 320 grit might be better)
  • Sanding block or flat work surface to sand on
  • Towels or Cardboard sheet to protect the floors
  • 5mm Allen Wrench

Second, Lay the bike on its side on the floor.  Brake Disc side (left side) up.  You can do this on a bike stand if you have one, but I have found that it is just easier to do this with the bike on its side so the brake mechanism can rest on the spokes while you work instead of it dangling in the air.

Third, Locate the two Allen bolts that hold the brake mechanism to the frame/fork of the bike.  Use the 5mm Allen Wrench to remove the bolts from the bike and set them aside.  When removed, your brake mechanism should gently pull from the mount and the bike.  Note: if you are experienced at performing this work, and you have clearance on your bike, you may be able to get away with not removing the brake caliper from the bike.  I can't, you might.  Consider your situation first.

Fourth, using your Pliers, Bend back the end of the cotter pin so that it is straight.  If you
shear that end of the pin, you will need to make a trip to the hardware store to buy another one so be aware that it is possible to snap off the end, and that would be bad, mmmkay?  It will push back out of the mechanism, easily.  Set your pin aside with the bolts that held the mechanism to the bike.

Fifth, remove the brake shoes and the spring that holds them together and in place.  My own mechanism slid out of the brake mechanism easily.  Set the mechanism down so that it does not get damaged.

Sixth, using your Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone, clean the brake disc and the brake pads.  The disc and the brake pads must be free of oil and dirt when you complete these steps, and that includes the oil and dirt on your fingers. 

Seventh, cleaning the pads will leave some Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone on them.  This
will soften the old pads and the dirt.  Using the sandpaper and sanding block or flat work surface, sand the dirt and grime from the old pads.  I used 50 strokes per pad.  Clean both pads with Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone to remove the remaining dirt and create a smooth braking surface.


First, clean everything again.  Brake ring should be shiny and clean.  Brake pads should be clear of dust, grease, and grit.  No grit on anything, you will pick enough of that up on your nest workout, I am sure

Second, Make a Brake Pad Sandwich.  Best way to describe it.  Without touching the actual pads, the brakes are assembled to be put in the brake mechanism.  Pad, Spring, Pad.  Squeeze them together gently but firmly so the sandwich can be inserted into the mechanism.

Third, insert the Brake Pad Sandwich into the Brake Mechanism.  The holes in the two pads and spring must line up.  They are to be inserted into the mechanism with the holes lining up with those in the mechanism where you removed your cotter pin.

Fourth, Lock everything in place with the cotter pin.  The cotter pin should be lined up with the loop on the wheel spoke side of the brake mechanism.  Slide it in to the hole so that it extends out on the outside of the brake mechanism.  Everything must fit in easily, it will not take a lot of force.  Bend the end of the cotter pin in place.  The cotter pin will be mobile and able to turn.

Fifth, mount the brake mechanism back onto the wheel over the brake disc.  I do this by putting it on top of the mount and inserting the Allen Bolt into the screw holes then finger tightening the Bolts down.

Sixth, you are effectively done at this point but you do need to align your brakes.  Find the sight corridor within the brake mechanism.  The disc should be as close to evenly placed within that gap as possible.  When you spin that wheel, make sure that the brake does not engage at any point within the travel of the wheel.  If you are at that point, then you will tighten the Allen Bolts down using the 5mm Allen Wrench.  Test the wheel again to make certain you are not rubbing.

Finally, when you are out and riding your bike, you should break in or "bed" the brakes by GENTLY applying then releasing them.  Enough to stop your travel from about 6-12 MPH (10-20KPH) gently but firmly.  Everything should work "as it should".  If you are rubbing, then align the wheel to fit the brakes and repeat the alignment procedure as needed.

If that Goat has not been banished to the barnyard, or it's still squealing like Screaming Baby Airlines, repeat the process.

Remember, any noise and you're losing speed.  Take the time to align the wheels within the brakes so they may spin as freely as possible.

Yeah, it's a lot of words.  Get to work, it's not as hard as all this text.  I'll shaddap!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

For cracking gags like that you should be in court. I hope you have a good barista…

 Topic courtesy of Em.  I think she knows me well, I'm just finishing my first tankard of half caff. 

Guatemalan Huehuetenango Decaf plus Ethiopian Yirgacheffe both freshly roasted last week to "first crack"

So, while I listen to the dryer spin my dog's bed around making a rattling sound, how about a triple play? 

A pelican walks into a bar
The pelican sits down at the bar and the bartender says "what'll it be?"
The pelican says, "I'll have your recommended IPA."

The bartender pours him his drink, the pelican socializes with others in the bar, and as thirty minutes passes, he finished his drink and the bartender says to him, "that'll be $5..25 Are you paying cash or credit?"
The pelican hands him a 50 and says to him "Sorry for the big bill."

My wife beamed at me with pride and said, “Wow! I can’t believe our son would go so far.”  
Me: Me neither. This trebuchet is awesome. Go get our daughter.

Two female friends are in a bar and one of them says to another:
"See those two crazy old ladies laughing? In 20 years we'll be like them!"
The friend replies: "You can't drink that much Mary! That's a mirror! "

Saturday, August 26, 2023

In the beverage battle tea should have it in the bag , but coffee is likely to grind down the opposition.

Title, courtesy of Loyal Reader "Em"!

As I sip my own coffee after a 21 mile bike ride.  All over the city and through the park.  Yes, the bunnies are still on Jenada Isle.  I was out there just before Sunrise and they didn't seem to mind.  I didn't see any more over at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale but I was too busy avoiding the people coming in for their tournament.

I would prefer to inline skate but I have to say seeing the town on a bike on a Saturday Sunrise Workout is a nice consolation prize.

"This term," said the English teacher, "we will be studying 'The Canterbury Tales' "

"But," she added, "to anticipate a question I get every year -- this will not include The Nun's Priest's Tale"
"Why not?" asked one of the pupils. The teacher's features shaped themselves into an expression of sour disapproval.

"Because," she answered, "The Nun's Priest's Tale is lascivious, licentious, and utterly improper, especially for people your age. Now please open your copies to the General Prologue, and we will begin with that."
Next lesson, the teacher said, "Please open your 'Canterbury Tales' to The Nun's Priest's Tale, which I am assuming you have all read by now...?"

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Got caught out in the rain on your bike? A little light oil might help. Here is how to service your wheels.

This might be a little on the "hacky" side, so take this with a grain of salt.  If you feel that this is a bit dangerous for your super pricey carbon fiber bike, well don't do it. 

The Standard Internet Warranty applies:  At Your Own Risk, but It Worked For Me!  In fact I gained more than 10% speed.  On the other hand, I found that I did foul my front brake and will be cleaning the pads as soon as I can find the time.  You may too.

What is "It"?

I'm in South Florida.  The rains finally started up.  The tropics are one band of storms at this moment from the Caribbean to Africa. 

I was out and got caught in one.

We all know riding a bike in the rain stinks. 

I got to the mid workout water stop after a cloudburst and the wheels were riding slower, my speed dropped, and I was one spandex covered pile of wet.

I was thinking of what to do and applied a little Inline Skating logic to it.  The lube had washed out of my bike's bearings.  Mind you, the chain was still greased, as my no longer grey Reeboks can attest.  But when I spun the pedals and the two wheels, they did not spin as much as I remembered.  If the bike used "standard" accessible bearings I would have properly cleaned them but this will "suffice".

How I fixed it was like this.

First, lay down a layer of plastic, cardboard, or anything you can use for protection on the dining room floor.  You don't want to ruin the finish there.

Second, lay the bike down on its side on the plastic sheeting.  Make sure that if you have disc brakes like I do, the discs are on the up side.

Third, note that you will likely have some water pour out of some nooks and crannies.  I did.  Dry that stuff up.

Fourth, there are three points that will need to be oiled.  Front and rear wheel hubs, and the crankshaft hub.  Add a high quality oil to the points and allow the oil to flow into them.  The oil will help to push out extra water (as mine did the first time).  Spin the wheels gently/firmly to allow the oil to get into the inside mechanisms.  Spin it each time you walk past the bike.  No, don't put the bike upright, allow gravity to do its thing.  Don't spin them so hard that you will spin the oil onto your brake discs!

Front and rear wheels are the same-ish.

Extreme closeup of the crankshaft.
You know, your pedals?

Fifth, allow the oil to run through the bearings and lube the wheels and hubs for an arbitrarily long time.  I allowed a solid day but I had the time, at least an hour and more if you have it.  Again, spin those wheels.  No, don't put the bike upright, allow gravity to do its thing.  Don't spin them so hard that you will spin the oil onto your brake discs!

Finally, make certain that you wipe the discs for the brakes down with a solvent.  If any oil is on your discs you will contaminate them.  I am using rubbing alcohol but acetone will work as well if not better.  Bearings should be oiled, not your brakes.  Give everything a once over and if you spot any extra oil lurking, or anything that obviously needs tightening, this is a good time to clean or service it.

Mind you, when I took the bike out after the second time, my front brake was useless and contaminated with oil while back brake was acceptable.  When I get the time, I'll sand the pads, take pics, and post everything here.  After all, I have miles to do!

Happy Multi-Use Trails, Cowboys and Cowgirls!

Sunday, August 20, 2023

I lost an argument to my English Setter. He just made such a good point.

 As I am getting ready to get out and take Rack for his second walk of the day.  We're having storms today, and the Radar looks like a Dalmatian's fur pattern.  Speckled.  With green, yellow and red blobs.

Stay Dry, Fellow Babies!

Two good old boys are out fishing, when a cruise boat with beautiful women appears.

Seeing the beautiful women, all in bikinis, one of them asks, “what should we do?” The others thinks upon it for a bit until he has an idea.
“Hey,” he says, “show them gals your nuts”

“Really?” asks his freind.
“Really” his freind responds.

At which point the buddy gets up and stands up in the fishing boat.
He puts his hands out and sticks his thumbs in his ears, waiving his fingers and jumps up and down yelling “Humbledegooobledegooble”

And while we're on the subject of crazy...

A city guy needs a bio break while driving through the country. He stops at a gas station, and they only have an outhouse.

He goes back to the outhouse, and there are two holes, one of them in use. He goes up to use the other one.
After he's done, 75 cents falls out of his pocket while he's pulling up his trousers. He looks in the hole, finishes pulling up his trousers and pulls out his wallet. He pulls out two hundred dollar bills and throws them in the hole.

The other gentleman in the outhouse has been watching, and says, "what did you do that for?"
He says, "You don't think I'm going down there for 75 cents, do you?"

Saturday, August 19, 2023

What do you call an angry carrot? A steamed veggie.

May as well start that off with a cooking Dad Joke, right?  I'll be in the kitchen at some point making the neighborhood smell of coffee since I have to roast some today.  

Busy day huh?  You too?

So I quote this sort of this thing frequently.  "Technically Right".  They're statements that well, they are right, but if you consider them, they've gone quite off the rails. 

For example, "All Mushrooms are Edible.  Some are only edible once, some make a tasty sauce for your meal, and others make you stare at a wall and see your god for a night."

I have a fondness for "technically true" jokes, like these:

  • Did you know that the average person has an above-average number of legs? After all, most people have two legs, while a few have none.
  • Did you know that if you shuffle a deck of cards, the resulting order has likely never existed before in the history of the universe?
  • Humanity will not go extinct in anyone's lifetime.
  • If all the people in the world held hands around equator, most of them will drown.
  • If your parachute doesn't open while skydiving, you have rest of your life to fix it.
  • Give a man a candle and he will have light for a day. Set a man on fire and he will have light for the rest of his life.
  • While we say atmosphere on Venus is poisonous, it has still killed less humans than Earth's atmosphere.
  • I was once the youngest person on earth.
  • Ever notice how the word bed looks like a bed? But it doesn't work if you're dyslexic and read it in a mirror.
  • You don't need a parachute to go skydiving. You only need one if you wanna go twice.
  • A blue whale is so large that if you laid one on a basketball court the game would be over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

I blinked. I got a Zinnia in my Avocado pot.

My nursery pot surprised me.

You see a while back I was riding around in circles.  Wearing down bicycle tires.  Going through neighborhoods adjacent to those adjacent to mine. 

Ridey, Ridey, Ridey.

I was about as far from home as I get on that particular workout when I noticed someone was walking their odds and ends. 

In this case, they were walking an Avocado.  Now, coming from a family where Mom was full on Italian, and cooked Italian Specialties frequently, I knew nothing of avocados.

They looked like Hate Pears to me.  Dark Green warty pear shaped things.  My neighbor had brought me one and I used it to mix with a can of "chum", A.K.A tuna fish.   It wasn't bad, so weird Hate Pears are fine.  I shall allow it.

I laughed at all y'all up North trying to grow avocados in a jar on the windowsill.  So of course, I had to try it myself.  A couple months back, I put it in the jar, placed it on the windowsill and grew slime and mosquitoes.    I had already started a nursery pot chock full of flower seeds and nothing did anything.

Or so I thought.

Turns out that things were just slow, but I did get busy. 

Carving long lazy circles around the neighborhood where I found that now slimy golf ball feeding mosquitoes.

I blinked.  Things started growing.  Seeds from outside blew into the pot as well.  Instead of having lots of Zinnia flowers, it is now one single Zinnia, as well as some lemongrass, coleus, and of course the Avocado.

The avocado is now about 2 feet tall, and almost as tall as the Zinnia.

My weird salmon colored zinnia.  I did plant a large handful of the things but only one came up. 

Who knows.  At least I have my weird slimy avocado pit grown up into a two foot tall mini avocado tree.

The moral is that if you watch where you workout, you may find something for your garden as well.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

I'm addicted to pistachios. I know, that's nuts.

It is now "Czechia" or "Czech Republic" and Slovakia, but I'm splitting hairs.  I'm also rather enjoying listening to Radio Prague International when I can on Shortwave.  It makes Czechia sound rather nice.

I'll admit, I'm odd, I'm probably the only person in my city that actively listens to shortwave radio on a daily basis.

 Killer Bear

In Czechoslovakia, a woman walks into a police station and reports that while walking in the woods she witnessed a bear attack a man and devour him. The police quickly form a search party to find and take care of the killer bear.

About an hour later they come across two bears together - a male and a female. One of the officers asks “how are we going to figure out which one did it”. One of his colleagues raises his rifle and shoots the male bear dead.

“How did you know which one to shoot?”, the officer asks? “Easy” says his colleague, “Whenever you are investigating a missing Czech, the answer is always the Czech is in the male.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

If women want a guy who is taller than them why do they care if he has hair on top of his head?

Just back from a bike ride, just finished the French Toast breakfast and am working my second mug of coffee.  Don't judge me, my cycling shorts are actually getting loose!

But I do need a vacation and my own Spanish just might be strong enough for a vacation En EspaƱa.  ¿Por favor?

A Man Vacations in Spain

While he's there, he decides to get a tattoo to remember the trip by. Just his luck, though, the tattoo get infected. The local who has been showing him around notices the next day and offers to lend a hand.

"I know a guy who specializes in this exact thing," the local says. "He's a friend of mine and I'm sure he'll help you out."

"Really?" the tourist asks. "I would never expect you to know someone who specializes specifically in tattoo related medical issues."

The local turns to him and simply says, "Of course, nobody expects the Spanish Ink Physician."

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Monarchs in the Air, Monarchs in the Sky, Monarchs eating my plants, By and By.

I grow a lot of plants here.  Many of them are here for very specific reasons.

I have to think that I am a victim of my own success in this one particular situation.  You see, there are a lot of Milkweed plants on the property.  I Just haven't seen any flowers in a very long time.

In fact the reason that I grow them is specifically NOT to see flowers.  They are food for the Monarch Caterpillars that hatch on the plants. 

One of the earliest pictures that I posted here was a close up of a Monarch that had hatched from a chrysalis and was drying the wings out on the leaves under the Sea Grape tree in the backyard.

That particular beauty is a boy.  The two twin spots on the veins on the back two wings are his "boy bits".

I am currently dealing with a maddening car issue and have been out in the carport, an open structure on the front of the house where you park your car to keep it out of the sun.   I'm under the impression that it's a peculiarly Florida thing, but who knows, I could be wrong. 

As I was out there, sweating because it is August and blisteringly hot, I had to make sure that I didn't crush any of these butterflies because between my flowers and those of the neighbors, we have quite a lot of them floating around.

I am just back from a bike workout, 20.65 miles to be specific.  I'm clearing out tasks for the day and I needed to take the recycling to the street.  Coming back to the porch, there was a beauty flexing her wings in the sunshine on my basil, just a few inches from where I stopped.  It is nice to have some visitors in the day.

We always have a lot of Monarchs in various stages of life here in both the front and back yard.   At this moment there is one banging against the front window trying to get inside the house.  Maybe it sees the reflection of the Mexican Milkweed in the glass of the front window.  I don't know.  

I will say that the last time I got flowers and seeds from one of those plants it was due to my using insecticidal soap on them and harvesting the seed pods as soon as they were ripe.

I don't feel too good about that as it meant that there were some caterpillars that did not make it.  On the other hand I did get enough seeds to reseed my own pots as well as the little park near the house.

So as you stand out in the heat, make sure you are protecting the beneficial insects around you.  After all, you never know where the little critters are.  Even on your back.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

What do you call an alligator with a vest? An investigator.

A little something for everyone who is thinking that tomorrow is Monday and Dreading it.  And since it is short, a little lead-in.

I was stranded on an island with nothing but dark red grass, dark red sand, dark red trees everything was dark red.

"AHHH!" i yelled "I've been marooned!"

One Early morning a mother went to her sleeping son and woke him up.

MOM : “Wake up, son. It’s time to go to school.”

SON : “But why, Mama? I don’t want to go to school.”
MOM : “Give me two reasons why you don’t want to go to school.”

SON : “One, all the children hate me. Two, all the teachers hate me.”
MOM : “Oh! that’s not a reason. Come on, you have to go to school.”

SON : “Give me two good reasons WHY I should go to school?”
MOM : “One, you are FIFTY-TWO years old and should understand your responsibilities. Two, you are the PRINCIPAL of the school”

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Early Man used to wonder where the sun went at night. Then it dawned on him.

 There were two guys locked in a lunatic asylum and one night, they decided they didn't like that anymore.

They decided to escape

So, they made it up to the roof and there, just across this narrow gap, they see rooftops, stretching across town, stretching to freedom.

Now, the first guy, he jumps right across, no problem. But his friend, he's afraid of falling.

So, the first guy has an idea.  He says, "Hey, I got this flashlight with me. I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings and you can walk across the beam and join me."

But the second guy says, "What do you think I am, crazy? You'll just turn it off when I'm am halfway across!"

And since that was a bit short, and I am (always) hungry, here is another one for you to chew on!

I am not sure how I feel about having toast for breakfast.
On the upside, it’s buttered.
On the downside, it isn’t.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Diamonds in the sky and a bonus shower too?

I have a lot of pots in the backyard stuffed with oddball plants.  Many from seed, some from cuttings.

I'm growing just what you would expect here.  Citrus, Flowers, even an Avocado that is loving the heat.

I also have all that green on a drip-feed irrigation.  Sprinklers to the layperson.  Wee little things the size of a fingernail or a small coin.

The problem with this all is that it is ground water that is pushed through the pipes.  Ground water here is chock full of things that you don't want to drink.  Not to mention the chemicals that the neighbors are pumping into the soil so their precious grass doesn't have grubs, and bacteria, and iron in the water, there is also sand that gets sent into the lines at pressure.

All that stuff has to be cleared out from time to time.  I usually notice when something looks wilted.

I go out, use a piece of copper wire to ream out the connections while the system is running and all that junk comes flying out and soaks me.

I asked you not to mention chemicals, please!

Anyway, I was out there tending to this house of cards when I looked up.  The Lemon tree that I have in an old palm tree stump collects spider webs.  It's OK, the tree is outside, in a giant pot, and the spider webs are above even my head. 

But the morning sun was glistening through the water drops that landed on the webs and with the breezes blowing in from the ocean, the whole thing just shimmered in silvery diamonds.

If you have to be outside, soaked in water of questionable quality, it may as well bring beauty to the eye.