Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Edison was wrong

Inventing is actually 20 percent inspiration and 80 percent frustration. So far there`s been no sweating involved.

I came back to my perpetual project of trying to get grounds from the back of a bike, adding this time a smaller wheel. The first challenge was trying to find a new inner tube for a 12" wheel. None to be found in the shop, but there was a 14". At first i thouhgt that i would cut it down, glue it back together and be set. Palo thought this was a bad idea- just stuff it, he said, carefully.

I tried to wriggle the tube into the wheel, it really didn`t fit, it was full of kinks and i was positive they would keep it from inflating. I was wrong. It blew up perfectly.

One thing to keep in mind when doing this is that the tube may want to slip out and get pinched between the rim and the tire, and this, in Palo`s put-on gringo drawl, "no es bhwehno."

The way to avoid it is put the tube in, tire on, and "massage" the tire back and forth perpindicular to the rim. Like you would your lover`s feet.

The next challenge was that the hub and all of its accoutrements did not fit into the fork. Oy.

I really just wanted to replace a single nut on the bolt, but in the process of its removal i discovered some other problems with the innards and went for a full dismantle. When finally cleaned and re-greased i attempted to put it back together. I hadn`t been that careful about noting its postions, but so far these things are fairly straightforward- pieces that look like they fit together do. However, this was not the case this time. Several attempts and variations on construction proved futile. Finally i put the thing together minus two particular pieces, it spun beautifully, i couldn`t even tell the difference. I was about to go forward and i thought, no, do it right. You need to learn how this stuff actually works. So i waited for Palo, who turned out to be Carlos.

"Da me cinco cervezas!" joked Carlos, laughing in his gotcha kind of way. (translation- give me five beers) Carlos took what i had struggled with for over a half an hour and put it together in a way that it just worked. Of course it all looked very easy and straightforward under his hands. Honestly, i don`t know if i can even recreate what he did, but it was good to know that it was possible. And knowing is half the battle.

Once back together with a smaller nut, i stuck the wheel onto the fork- it fit perfectly. I tried to spin the chain onto the gear, but it wouldn`t. The gear which i had mistaken for fixed, was most definitely not. I`ll weld it. Done.

Back to the bike, try to spin the chain on, won`t go. So so tight. What is going on? I`ve got my concentration on the wheel, where the problem was not. When i look up its staring me right in the face. The wonky chain ring attachment that never looked quite right now looks very wrong.

At this point i acknowledged my 80 perecent frustration level and left it for the night. Really i`ll leave it for a few nights. There`s more important stuff to do.

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