Bike Saviours Build-a-Bike: Day 3 – Bike Saviours – Tempe, AZ – 02.02.2015

This is a day-to-day account of my first Build-a-Bike. Read Day 1 and Day 2 first.

Day 3

Time: I forgot to sign in!!! Major Bike Saviours cardinal sin! So I don’t know exactly how long it took… I want to say an hour to an hour and a half… sorry.

Was helped by: Nate

Worked on: Brakes and chain.

My goal was to go to Bike Saviours every Wednesday to work on my bike but… last week I skipped. I had spent all day cooking and cleaning the house for Thanksgiving and I was done. Could not get off the sofa. So I was very excited to go back yesterday and see my bike again! I knew that I would be working on brakes though, and that had me a little on edge. It just seemed like a very difficult task.

Nate had the day off from Rage Cycles so he was able to help me out again at Bike Saviours. 🙂

So the first thing I had to do was get my bike. My bike got the shaft of spots, imo ;) It's all the way in the back.

So the first thing I had to do was get my bike. My bike got the shaft of spots, imo 😉 It’s all the way in the back.

But it was so nice seeing it again. Looks better than I remembered it. Lovely!

But it was so nice seeing it again. Looks better than I remembered. Lovely!

On the rack and ready to go!

On the rack and ready to go. It’s so pretty!

Ok so we jump right into brakes. The worksheet says to do the front brake first, but Nate wanted to start with the rear. He was going to help me out a lot with that one since it's the hardest, and then I was to do the front by myself. So first step is to cut the brake cable...

Ok so we jump right into brakes. The worksheet says to do the front brake first, but Nate wanted to start with the rear. He was going to help me out a lot with that one since it’s the hardest, and then I was to do the front by myself. So first step is to cut the brake cable…

And pull the cable all the way out. This was the first day we actually replaced parts, and not spend loads of time cleaning. We discard the old brake cable and housing.

And pull the cable all the way out. This was the first day we actually replaced parts and didn’t spend loads of time cleaning. We discarded the old brake cable and housing.

Patrick getting new brake cable for me. I forgot to mention this the last couple of times, but Patrick has a pretty rad blog you should check out: Rolling Sasquatch. Patrick gave up his car at this year's Tour de Fat. His blog is about his year without a car.

Patrick getting new brake cables for me. I forgot to mention this the last couple of times: Patrick has a pretty rad blog you should check out: Rolling Sasquatch. Patrick traded his car for a bike at this year’s Tour de Fat Tempe. His blog follows his journey living car-free.

I had one job. I had to cut the cable housing but I didn't cut it clean. Which is important because we have to string the brake cable inside of it. Here he is fixing it for me but I took a photo of the tools instead. I guess I had two jobs...

I had one job. I had to cut the cable housing but I didn’t cut it clean. Which is important because we have to thread the brake cable inside of it. Here Nate is fixing it for me but I took a photo of the tools instead. I guess I had two jobs…

So now we have to string the cable back into the bike. Pretty much the opposite way we got it out. It's important to place the end cube-thingy and thread it correctly into the lever. Thst tension is what is going to make the "___" open and close and make your bike stop when you need it.

So now we have to thread the cable back into the bike. Pretty much the opposite way we got it out. It’s important to place the cable-end cube-thingy and thread it correctly into the lever. This tension is what is going to make the caliper open and close and make your bike stop when you need it.

And we finished threading and housing the rear cable!!! So exciting! And it actually worked! The new housing looks pretty nice! :)

And we finished threading, housing and tightening the rear brake!!! So exciting! And it actually works! The new housing looks pretty nice!

We did a little adjusting to the brake pads... which did not need to be replaced by the way.

We did a little adjusting to the caliper and brake pads… which did not need to be replaced by the way.

I don't have many photos doing the front brake, since I did that one mostly by myself and my hands were busy. I messed up the cable housing for the front again, so here Rob is helping open the holes so that I can thread the cable later.

I don’t have many photos doing the front brake, since I did that one mostly by myself and my hands were busy. However, it’s pretty much the same thing. I messed up the cable housing for the front again, so here Rob is helping open the holes so that I can thread the cable.

And after we were done with both brakes we had to place these at the ends so that the cable doesn't frey. Pretty straightforward. So that was all for brakes. It really was not so hard. It would have taken a lot longer had I now had help, but truly once you know what to do it's pretty easy. Another tip I forgot about! Don't throw away the old cable housing right away. Before you do so, cut the new housing to the exact size as the old one. Also, when tightening the new cables don't tighten too much. If there are any adjustments that need to be made later and it's too tight you will have cramped the cable and ruined everything that is good and holy in the universe. Thanks Nate ;)

And after we were done with both brakes we had to place these at the ends so that the cables don’t fray. Pretty straightforward. So that was all for brakes! It really was not so hard. Once you know what to do, which all Bike Saviours volunteers can help you with, it’s pretty easy. Some tips I forgot to mention! Don’t throw away the old cable housings right away. Before you do so, cut the new housing to the exact size as the old ones. Also, when tightening the new cables to the bike don’t tighten too much. If there are any adjustments that need to be made later you may have to slightly pull the cable. If it’s too tight you will have cramped the cable and ruined everything.

Next was chain. I had already taken the chain off on Day 2, but I was advised to not throw it out until we inspected it. Right off the bat we could tell that the OG chain is completely rusted and useless, but Nate still wanted to see if it was stretched out. He taught me how to do so using this tool. The tool has a lever and a little window. As you press the lever which stretches the chain, the little window shows you a number. If I remember correctly anything 50 and under means you don't need a new chain. My OG chain was not stretched too badly... but because of the oxidation we had to replace it nonetheless..

Next was chain. I had already taken the chain off on Day 2, but I was advised to not throw it out until we inspected it. Right off the bat we could tell that the OG chain was completely rusted and useless, but Nate still wanted to see if it was stretched out. He taught me how to do so using this tool. The tool has a lever and a little window. As you press the lever which stretches the chain, the little window shows you a number. If I remember correctly anything 0.5 and under means you don’t need a new chain. My OG chain was not stretched too badly… but because of the oxidation we had to replace it nonetheless.

But that's no biggie. Bike Saviours has lots of chains ready to go. It's not like you have to order it and wait for it to be shipped etc. Even better, your $60 Build-a-Bike comes with a new chain, if the bike really needs it. There are lots of chains available, but only one works for my 5-speed bike. All this info is right on the box :)

But that’s no biggie. Bike Saviours has lots of chains ready to go. It’s not like you have to order it and wait for it to be shipped etc. Even better, your $60 Build-a-Bike comes with a new chain, if the bike needs it. There are lots of chains available, but only one works for my 5-speed bike.

So if you have your old chain, the easiest thing to do would be to just place the new one alongside the old one and then you know how long your chain should be. You brake at the appropriate length and you are good to go. Nate wanted to show me how to measure a chain is you don't have the original chain on you. You place the chain around both big plates, make then ends touch and give it an extra link. That's where you brake it. So we tried his method...

So if you have your old chain, the easiest thing to do would be to just place the new one alongside the old one and then you know how long your chain should be. You break at the appropriate length and you are good to go. Nate wanted to show me how to measure a chain if you don’t have the original chain on you. You place the chain around the large cog and chain plate, make then ends touch and give it an extra link. That’s where you break it. So we tried his method…

And it worked! Both chains are the same length.

And it worked! Both chains are the same length, and we didn’t have to break it at all.

So my new chain comes with a master key... this is supposed to be an amazing feature because you don't have to brake the chain to take it off... I think that's what's great about it. I don;t remember all the details but Nate was really going off about it. It kind of made his day.

My new chain comes with a master link, which is a special connecting link that opens and closes by hand. This is supposed to be an great feature because you don’t have to break the chain whenever you have to/want to take it off.

And then after being all happy that we didn't have to brake the chain... we wanted to brake the old chain so that I would learn how to do it anyway. Whaaaat? Ok. Turns out that wasn't so hard either and I'm glad I know how to do it now.

And then after being all happy about the master link feature and that we didn’t have to break the chain, Nate wanted to break the old chain so that I would learn how to do it anyway. Whaaaat? Ok. Turns out that wasn’t so hard either and I’m glad I know how to do it now.

Another fantastic tip! Putting your chain together can be a pain in the ass because gravity. But if you modify an old spoke and bend it so that it has two hooks at both ends, you can use it to hold the chain together, and now you can use both hands to put the master link in place. Ta da!

Putting your chain together can be a pain in the ass because gravity. Modify an old spoke, which are all over the shop, and bend it so that it has a hook on each end, you can use it to hold the chain together, and now you can use both hands to put the master link in place. Ta da!

And now that the chain is on and the brakes are working... it's like a working bicycle!

And now that the chain is on and the brakes are working… it’s like a working bicycle! Sounds so good and smooth as it’s spinning. I’m so ready to ride this bike.

And that was that. I spent the rest of my time goofing off with these idiots... Love it when several of my favorite volunteers work on the same day!

And that was that. I spent the rest of my time goofing off with these crazies. Love it when lots of my favorite volunteers work on the same day!

This is all I did yesterday. Just noticed that I am supposed to be done with the bike in 30 days!!! Yikes! Maybe I shouldn't have taken last week off or have spent so much time goofing off. According to this I have to be done next week.

This is all I did yesterday. Just noticed that I am supposed to be done with the bike within 30 days of starting!!! Yikes! Maybe I shouldn’t have taken last week off or have spent so much time goofing off. According to this I have to be done next week. I still have gears and final steps left. I guess next Wednesday I will be pulling an extra long working session. If I’m not done… I think Patrick can be bribed 😉 Just kidding! I really don’t know if this is an enforced rule. I’ll ask next week.

I leave you with The Mangler. It's Italian. I love Ben, this is the guy who is in charge of next year's Cranksgiving alleycat race. It has been decided.

I leave you with The Mangler. It’s Italian! Ben is great peoples, this is the guy who is in charge of next year’s Cranksgiving Tempe alleycat race. It’s been decided.

*** Build-a-Bike price includes new brake cables, housing and chain.

Come back next Thursday for Day 4.