Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Happy Home

You guys! We're renting a home! I know, I can't believe it either. It hasn't sunk in yet. I keep telling myself that we're not leaving in order to force myself to get it. This post is just that - a quick update for anyone keeping track as well as confirmation to myself. But I know it's going to take time to get used to living somewhere again.

So far, so good. New friends, new routines, and whoa - new stuff.

Four years of bicycle touring and house sitting have taught us a lot about what we do and don't like in a home, so now we get to put that knowledge to the test. We know what's important to us for day to day comfort. We also know how little we truly need. As we gather (I hate to say amass) the stuff that's normal for a home, I hope we can keep that in mind. It's also a lot of fun to go buy the things we like. Balance, don't fail me now!

Fortunately, we're still only able to bring home what we can carry on our bikes.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fixing the Brakes

Ha! Lots of punishment due here. Not only did my bike get new brake pads, cable, and housing, but a bunch of other stuff is/was broken on my bike. So I had to fix all the breaks. Wah wah.

First! Don't worry, Roy made a full recovery. We later had a dog emergency when Pelops went tearing down a hillside after some deer - pulled tendon or ligament or something. He also had to wear a cast and he was not happy about it. Thankfully, he also made a fully recovery, just in time for the family to come home. We miss our small town Germany life, but we're also basking in some SW France sun right now and it's alright.

So the bikes are getting some love. Some desperately needed love. My front derailleur broke.

Can you tell what's wrong? Initially, I thought the cable had broken, but it was just really loose in a new way. So I checked the ends of the cable, both in the brifters and at the derailleur. Everything looked fine. Weird, right?

A hint? The whole derailleur will have to be replaced. That remains unfixed since I haven't found the right one (9-speed, triple, Shimano 105 - hard to find here). But my new Racktime rear rack arrived so I got started on that. I had one of those bike working days when one thing leads to the next to the next. I ordered a new rear rack because:

The first arm broke during the first summer. Fixed with tape and a zip tie. Second arm? Nope.
Some cracking? Nope, no thank you.
Oh and that's supposed to be attached. Nope.
And, you know, when you've got the rack off the bike, you might as well replace the brake pads which desperately need replacing. And since the brakes aren't attached, you should just put the new brake cable and housing in, since that cable's been sticking for months. Check, check. Now the new rack aaaand oh look, the real tire is flat. Fix it while the brakes aren't attached, also. Phew! Now the new rack.
So solid. So lightweight. So pretty. Now my Ortliebs are actually attached the way they should be. It's a wonder the other rack made it as long as it did. I thank it for it's time and sacrifice.

I have a lot of memories of working on brakes and racks and things at the Kitchen, and all of my memories are of working on things and it not going well. This goes wrong, that goes wrong, we have to start again. I remember being a novice, learning to do it right but not actually doing it well. I guess all that practice paid off because this entire process, flat fixing included, was enjoyable and went smoothly. I like working on bikes.

Front brake pads and cable can wait, though, because they're looking alright for now.

We've done some fun biking with the family here. The house is baby-full with two kids under 2. All of us (2 kids, their parents, the two of us) went for a bike ride to the river and their row boat. It was dreamy. We floated down the river a bit then rode the bikes home. It's going to be a fun summer. Next time, we'll jump in the water for a swim. Oh yeah.

Our bikes are in France! So are we! Things are good! Happy summer you guys!