This has been an unusually nasty winter up here in Wisconsin. So far, we've had plenty of cold and over 60 inches of snow. Another 4-12 inches (depending on who you ask) is predicted for tonight and tomorrow. A wonderful forecast for a city looking at the possibility of a labor dispute with its snowplow drivers. The record for snowfall in a season stands at 78 inches. A mere stone's throw.
Between the snow, the cold, the rain and the road salt, I haven't been riding much. Monday morning I pulled the Moose out of the garage and discovered that one of its brakes was dragging. Wait, make that two of its brakes—front and back. Applying the brakes worked okay—at least one caliper was working on each wheel. Of course, to get going again meant prying the other caliper off the rim, a task best undertaken while stopped. So I rode the whole commute braking only when I really needed to, and the Moose came down to the bike cave for a little TLC.
The Bike Cave is in an advanced state of renovation (been doing that instead of blogging, in case you're wondering) with pink foamboard insulation and studs waiting for wiring, fiberglass bats and drywall. The lights are working fine though, so I sat down to fix the brakes. After removing the cantilever bolts, I wrestled the first caliper off with a slipjoint pliers to find this:
Eeewwww. I cleaned the post and the inside of the caliper with some emery cloth, filled the spring cavities with grease, slathered the post and caliper bushing with Phil's Tenacious Oil and put everything back together. Looking at it though, it sure seemed like the moisture must be coming in at the bolt end of the post. So I found some stainless fender washers, buttered them up with grease and put them in between the bolt and the caliper. Much better.
I really hadn't realized how far downhill the modulation had gone until I rode in today. Smooooove.
A while back, I had also noticed that the rear wheel felt like it had gone out of true. I looked it over and discovered that the sidewall of the long-suffering IRC Blizzard studded tire was pulling loose.
So I bought a Nokian Mount & Ground W160, put it on the front, and put the still-good front Blizzard on the rear. Another huge difference. The Nokian is a 1.9-inch tire and is not as knobby as the 2.125-inch Blizzard, but the black sidewall of the Nokian looks much thicker than the Blizzard's skinwall. There also seems to be quite a difference between 160 and 122 studs, and it seems like the Nokian's studs are more firmly embedded in the tire. Steering seems noticeably more sure-footed. I'm quite pleased.
I cleaned the chain and mounted a new Lumotec IQ Fly LED headlight and Busch&Müller DToplight XS Plus wired taillight. More on those in a future post.
We're ready to make the push to spring.