Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Love The Duchess...

...but boy, oh boy, is she aptly named. Not only is she the grand old dame of my bicycles, she is high maintenance, at least for now. Was on the way home from Whole Foods, with a grocery bag in each pannier, and my rear wheel got very stiff going up a hill. At first, thought I'd slipped out of gears, which is understandable when the gear shifters are like trombone slides. (You have to find the right spot for each gear; there's no set notch with numbers like on newer bikes.) It was the rear wheel coming to a slow, grinding halt. Had to call a for a rescue. Ugh.

I am learning more about bicycles than I ever though I'd need to know. Something tells me learning the differences between freewheels and cassettes (Duchess = freewheel) is just the beginning. Thanks to Sheldon Brown, the Bicycling Guide to Bicycle Maintenance & Repair - which may become a most read book in this house, given the number of bikes - and other internet sources, I have the information for dismantling the freewheel and putting in a new one, if that's necessary. But, I also found out how to flush out the grime and drip a middleweight oil into the space between the center and the cogs. So far, that seems to have done the trick, but I'll know for sure after today's run to bank, bakery & store.

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