Just a quick note: This will be the last post of the year. And I just wanted to wish everyone out there a truly wonderful New Year! I hope you all make good new year's resolutions and stick with them. Things like drink more beer, have more sex, enjoy friends and family. I also hope one of those resolutions is to get out on your bicycles more often and have some fun! Cheers everybody! Now on to the post~
Almost every year my family and friend's have the almost impossible task of getting stuff for me for Christmas. I'm sure all of you have somebody on your Xmas list that is hard to shop for. Not because you can't think of anything to buy them. No, far from it. The problem is that they are to specific. I mean they give you the make, model, serial number, and place where it was manufactured! I, am one of those people.
Me: Hi, my name is Earl and I have a problem...
Everyone else: Hi Earl!
I always thought this made it real easy for people to shop for me. I mean it seems logical. But then I discovered the undue stress that this puts on people. They want to give you the thing that's close to what you wanted that they could find easily. Or (This seems to be more the reason for me) the thing they found is cheaper.
However this year I am glad to say that my Super Hot Awesome Wife Who I Really Don't Deserve (SHAWIRDD for short) came through with flying colors! It did however take some of the surprise out of the whole thing when she sat me down in front of the computer and said, "Is this the one you wanted?" And then just clicked the add to chart button. But what are you gonna do? :)
This year seemed to have a bicycle tool theme. Which I was very excited about. I normally do all my wrenching at my LSB (Local Bike Shop in case you've been living in a cave and hadn't ever heard that term before (Strictly speaking to the cycling people out there. Not everybody else. Hi everybody else!)) Scott's Cycle and Fitness. Where I can be under the ever watchful eye of Steve and Co. (I have been known to shear the outer bearing cups of bottom brackets without adult supervision). But there have been several occasions when I really needed a specialty tool and the shop is closed or it's to small of a tweak to justify driving/riding all the way down to the shop to do it. So I asked my SHAWIRDD for a few specific tools that I use all the time when I'm down at Scott's.
The first is a pedal wrench. I know what your thinking. You've been riding for how long and you don't own a pedal wrench!? And all I can say is don't judge me! Meany head... I really don't own any bikes that can't be removed with an allen key but my boys do. And there is always a time when those damn things are on to tight. Where some extra leverage comes in handy.
No they are not to scale here. Although I would be curious to see the rear wheel these two tools would work on...
The second thing is a chain whip and cassette lock ring tool. I know they are technically two tools but you can't really use one without the other (Unless you're into something kinky. I don't judge...)so I figure this is probably a safe combo deal. I have several cassettes. And when a race course is particularly hilly and I need a 12-27 to get my fat but up the hills it would be nice to do this in the privacy of my own home. You know. When no one is looking...
The third thing is a fourth hand (No, I didn't make that up). This a really nifty tool that is practically indispensable when doing brake or derailleur cables. And I have mentioned here before how much I love mechanical things.
The fourth thing is a good set of cable cutters. I don't know if any of you have ever tried to cut cables without a pair of these. But let me save you the heart ache and don't. It just flattens out and frays the wire into an unusable mess.
The fifth thing is a chain tool. You just never know when you're going to need one of these bad boys. Steve at the shop had a really pimp one but I'm not worthy of such awesome toys. Besides the Park one that I got is more tool than I'll ever need.
None of these things cost more than fifty bucks. But do yourself a favor and don't go cheap on any one of these tools (In other words stay away from the bargain bin in the Performance Bike or Nashbar catalogs.). They will just leave you with at best a rounded off tip. And at worst bloody knuckles and some damaged gear.
The higher the quality of the tools the longer they last and the better (generally) they perform. Brands like Park Tool and Pedro's are almost always a great bet for quality.
So if the next time you see me with bandages on my hands you will know that I was trying something on my own in the man cave.
Rubber side down and Happy New Year,