Monday, October 28, 2013

Bear Lake

It started with a small mechanical. I was riding Schwinn for my regular old lunchtime mental ride and I was noticing some trouble for the front derailleur to get up into the big ring. I kind-of made a mental note to myself to get that bike home and do some adjusting. As per usual I spaced it out and off I go on the next lunch ride. I'm about four miles out of town and it really feels odd. I look down and my left crank arm is wobbly and the bottom bracket is sliding back and forth. I limp it back to town pedaling with one leg.
This bike has an FSA Omega crankset with the threaded bottom bracket instead of the crankbolt. I know there is a technical name for this style but I just call it the threaded do-hingie. I get it on the stand and re-tighten up everything and think I'm good to go! I'm not even a mile into the next ride and it is all loose again....oh boy....bummer.
I get back home and this time take it all apart. There is a lot of trouble even getting the bolt out of the crank. You know when, with a sinking feeling, that  this is just not right as you force the bolt to turn out.

This is what I find.
Stripped! As I am doing some reading about these cranksets and how to install there is much talk about the torque on the bolts and to not overdo them....crap...why don't I ever read up about these things first??? Because I'm a guy?? There is a good chance I just over amped this the first time I tightened it up and stripped it. Fortunatly, FSA offers parts off their web site and I ordered two new bolts. Then the flood happened and it took a couple of weeks to get the bolts. I rode Ogre for those two weeks as my commuter and lunch rides and it sure was FUN!!!
I found some time to put it all back together last weekend. The crankarms went back on and looked to mesh up tight with the spindles that are on the bottom bracket. Thank you for not having those stripped and rounded over. Good thing I ordered two bolts. I thought I had everything all cleaned out on the threads but must have missed some stuff because as I threaded the new bolt in, about 3/4's in, there is that sick feel to it as it cross threads and strips. I will never get the thinking to have these aluminum bolts threading into a steel threaded bottom bracket. I know everybody is trying to cut weight every place they can, but c'mon, how much more weight really to have steel bolts? There was much fine wire brushing and flushing out with solvent by me on those threads until they looked new and clean. Some locktite on the bolt and with anxiousness I thread it all back together. My tutorial said to ride it and pay attention because you will probably need to tighten a bit on the first ride. I was also careful because of my first experience. Sure enough not a mile into a ride It was loose, but, a snug up and then about two more miles and then a little more sung up and I think I got it RIGHT!! A few more short lunch rides and no problems so I decide to head out for a little longer ride this weekend.
I have been meaning to do a ride up the Bear Lake road ever since they got the new construction finished. Off I go!
A couple of Aspen trees hanging on to their color much like I am hanging on to the last hope of a summer gone past.

Rolling up to the Park entrance had me working against a pretty good head wind that would stay with me all the way to the top.
I had this notion in my mind that the Park Service built this new road with zero consideration for cyclists and provided not even a shoulder. I found that there are sections that look like this
But there are plenty of the uphill shoulders that look like this
OK, time to stop worrying about the road and focus on the task at hand! My obligatory Longs Peak shot for all of you because that is what I have for you every blog!
On the north slopes there were some reminders of the snowy weather that we had about a week or so ago.
A spot to take a break a bit past Sprague Lake. I was feeling pretty strong for not having really pushed myself this fall on the climbing up into the Park.
Once you climb up past the Glacier Gorge parking space you know you just about have it knocked out with only one set of steep switchbacks to conquer. You are getting right into the base of trails that lead up to peaks. It is pretty up here!!
A little sit down at the top to eat my peanut butter sandwich and drain a water bottle and a Selfie!!
It is good to have confidence in your bike as it is time to bomb back down!! I just can't let it go because there are a couple of hairpin turns to get down those switchbacks, after those....away we go!!
I stopped for a picture of Morraine Park, it is a pretty special place with lots of memories for me.
This time of year it is great that a nice day happened to fall on the weekend so I can take advantage of it!
Hey!, Thanks for riding along with me!
Hope everybody has a great week!


  1. Sounds like a really nice ride. Hope you got your problem fixed for good. I've never seen aluminum bolts before, usually it's the other way round. Cetainly looks awfully nice there this Fall. Mountain bikes ARE fun, aren't they...... By the way ....where'd you get that white, fuzzy helmet? It looks good over the top of those dark glasses.

  2. It's a white fuzzy helmet liner! Helps keep me warm and padded!!!

  3. Takes awhile to get used to the idea that the crank bolt is really there to set the pre-load on the bearing, and to act as a retainer. The two pinch bolts actually do the heavy lifting when it comes to holding the crank to the spindle. Came from a BMX design back in the late '70's....

  4. Well Paul, Where the hell was this advice as I over cranked it down???? After reading the tutorial I also learned the trick on the crank arm pinch bolts to turn them a 1/4 turn alternatively.
    I'll eventually learn to be a pretty good bike mechanic as I destroy stuff!!

  5. Jim you got some beautiful places to ride! thanks for sharing those gorgeous shots. Your pedaling one legged reference got me laughing - I have been there more times than I care to remember, had a sugino triple that the non drive side crank bolt loosened rather frequently on. I feel your pain on the two different metals threading into each other, I had a stainless steel bolt I used on a steel boss and ended up messing up the boss because of over torquing. Keeo enjoying that fall weather while you can

    1. Ryan, It is a learn by experience when it come to bike mechanics. I'll be so careful in the future when it come to mixed metal threads. Also learned that tighter is not always better!!

  6. What a view! You live in a beautiful place, Jim. So glad to have found your blog. I look forward to getting caught up.