Bike Friday Travel and Maintenance

First, what is a Bike Friday? It’s my folding bike I take on trips, like this. (More on this most recent trip later….)

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It fits into this suitcase.

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Like this (well, with some dirty laundry in there too).

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The old brake pads weren’t doing a good job of stopping the bike on >10% grade downhills. Though I was lucky to find Swissstop green pads in the small city of 50,000 where I was visiting. I had to sand the pads down to fit into the slightly smaller Kool Stop holders.

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When I got home, I had some maintenance to do on the bike. After seeing this article on hinge pin maintenance, I had some work to do there. First, here’s a photo of the two hinges, one on the top right where the seat “mast” folds down, the other on the bottom left where the rear triangle swings under the frame.

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Here’s a better view of the bike on the “workstand” before removing the hinge pins. I needed to support the bike by the bottom bracket and keep the weight of the rear wheel in order to be able to remove the bottom hinge pin.

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Here’s the hinge pin coming out, you can see that it’s rusted.

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Nothing that a little CLR and steel wool can’t fix. Then I greased it up, but it back together, and it’s as good as new!

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Next order of business was to shorten the drop bars. Every little bit shorter helps them fit in the suitcase better. Besides, my bar end shifters do add some length to the drops, so I can still use that hand position.

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Now onto fixing the shifting problems. As you can see in the closeup, the torturous bends the cable housings have to make for the bike to be foldable aren’t really optimal for shifting and braking, but at least they’re good enough when everything is working right. (Well, maybe you can’t see it since I should have taken the photo from the other side. Anyway, the cables come in from the top right, curve down and bend under the bottom bracket, then go back up again to go to the rear derailleur and the rear brake.)

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Closer inspection of the rear derailleur housing shows some breakage.

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Here’s a closer view of the broken housing. No wonder the shifting was terrible during my trip! Problem solved by replacing the housing.

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The prior old school Shimano 105 levers felt a little flimsy when braking on those >10% grade downhills. I found these Cane Creek SCR-5 levers which are a little more substantial. They are also more comfortable for riding on the brake hoods. Furthermore, these levers also have a quick release button at the lever, which for this bike is useful because I can use it in conjunction with the quick release at the brake calipers to provide enough clearance for wheel removal.

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I found some old school vinyl handlebar tape on Ebay. My prior cork tape would get ripped in the suitcase, so I’m hoping the vinyl will hold up better. (Excuse the feet in the bottom of the photo.)

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Is it just me, or are these ends which you crimp on the ends of the brake and shift cables harder to find nowadays? The bike shops near me are pretty stingy giving these out.

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All done and ready for the next trip!

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