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Old 09-13-2011, 04:21 PM   #72
Underboning OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Back in PDX again!
Oddometer: 727
9/6 – 9/10 Yet another pause in the Trip

Our last stop before leaving the US was a familial obligation visit with the in-laws in northeastern Ohio. One last chance to do some maintenance on the bikes before we pack them up. Yay! And one last chance to listen to my in-laws express their disapproval of our lives. Boo! Tuesday was an easy day of slacking off and sleeping late. The in-laws have 100 acres of land that used to be a rod-and-gun club, complete with a 10 acre or so lake. My father-in-law recently purchased a small pontoon boat with a 2hp electric motor for general lake duty. In the afternoon the sun made one of its very few appearances for the week and in order to take advantage of it, we took the boat out for a cruise and some fishing. The rest of the evening we again tried to explain our reasons for this trip, to little avail. Wednesday we borrowed a car and rode into town for some last minute supplies and to get out of the house for a while. We picked up fresh oil and a new blue tarp to replace the “custom” bike cover that we somehow lost in Raleigh. It rained most of the day, so it wasn't very conducive to getting much else done. Fortunately we went out to dinner so we could make polite small talk about the food instead of hearing how we are throwing our educations away (again).

Thursday was a better day as it was not raining too much and we could escape to the garage to do some bike maintenance. Our rear tires were shot and needed to be replaced. We had been carrying a new Michelin Gazelle each in case the stockers didn't last this far, but they did an admirable job for the last 5500 miles. Changing the tires couldn't have been easier. No bead breaker was required, just a firm squeeze with the hands, and no more than one tire iron was ever needed. We did Rebekah's bike first, the tire was easily removed and a tire iron was only needed to start the first bead over the rim. The tube was still in good shape, so it went back in and the new tire popped right back on. On installation, a tire lever was only required for the last couple of inches of the second bead. Sweet.

We aired up the tires using our Lezyne manual pump and it only took 270 strokes to reach 38 psi. The owner's manual has you remove the exhaust to facilitate getting the tire in and out of position, but I just lifted the back of the bike off of the ground as Re wiggled the tire back in place. Another advantage to a 200 pound bike! I just removed the tire from my bike since I was still (somewhat nervously) awaiting the delivery of my replacement spoke. I also took the opportunity to change the oil in both bikes and to adjust the valves. The valve adjustment is easiest with two people and only takes about 30 minutes, including removing and re-installing the leg shields. The intakes were less than .02mm loose and were easy to put right thanks to screw-type valve adjusters. The exhausts were both still good at .12mm, so we just buttoned them back up. A visual inspection of the chains showed no real change since the initial adjustment after installation. The sun made a brief appearance later that afternoon so we grabbed the binoculars and went out for a bird watching cruise on the lake before another uncomfortable dinner.

Friday was a nervous day, waiting for the UPS man to arrive with my spokes. This was the last chance for them to be delivered before we left for Canada and Africa, so I was more than a little anxious. We spent the morning shopping for my belated birthday dinner and having lunch at a great little hotdog shop in Sharon, Pennsylvania. The UPS man finally showed up around 3 pm with my spokes. Yay! Once again I would like to say “Thanks” to Chris at Ooty's Scooters for saving my butt and sending me these spokes. One of the most pleasant surprises of this trip has been the kindness of complete strangers who have helped us when we needed it. I installed the replacement spoke and popped the new tire on and lifted the rear of the bike so Re could wiggle the wheel back into place. Re got the wheel into the gap, and when I set the back end of the bike back down, we both saw and heard a nut fall out of the rear end of my bike... Well now, that's not right. Re pulled the rear wheel back out, and we soon found where the nut came from. The rear wheel of the Symba actually fits on a splined hub that remains attached to the bike when the wheel is removed. Similar to the set-up on bikes with single-sided swingarms, it's a nice system because you don't have to disturb the chain when you remove the wheel. The rear sprocket is bolted to the splined hub by four bolts that are held in place by tabbed washers. This is where the nut came from. Closer examination revealed that only one bolt was mostly snug, one had lost its nut entirely and the nuts were almost off on the other two... More worryingly still was that one bolt head had clearly been rubbing against the inside of the swingarm and had machined some thickness off of the bolt head. Not cool. The tabs on the washers appeared to have not done much good as they were all partially bent away from the bolt heads. I removed the hub from the bike, removed the bolts, re-flattened the washer tabs, and put it all back together and re-staked the tabs as tightly as I could. We then put it all back together and fit the wheel in place once more. We tightened everything back up, adjusted the chain and pronounced the bikes (after I inspected the bolts on Re's) fit for Africa! Ahem.

Saturday was our last day in Ohio and most of the day was taken up by lunch with members of Re's extended family, which was nice; it was good to catch up with some people we haven't seen in a long time. The not so nice part was the 1.5 hour ride each way with the in-laws. Later that evening we had another big discussion about our life choices over dinner. Re and I both know that our lives make some people very uncomfortable. We have chosen an unconventional path and Re's parents are the poster children for the conventional life. We don't see eye to eye. We certainly never try to push our way of life onto other people and we wish other people would do the same. After another awkward evening, we headed to bed early so we could be on the road in the morning.

No miles, just a lot of maintenance.
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