Experimental music, photography, and adventures

I am not good with a wrench

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I made some changes to the Long Haul Trucker, or at least I attempted to do so. I ordered some different handlebars (Nitto Noodles) and some fenders from Velo Orange. I ordered the VO Fluted Fenders, more because they’re the right width than because I wanted the fluted style, but they do look great.

In the process of attempting to install them, I broke a piece that is supposed to hold on the rear fender. These things are incredibly difficult to install. I’ve spent several hours on them already and was almost done when I broke that piece; now, I have to wait for a replacement. Chris, the proprietor, has been helpful with my e-mail questions though and is sending me a replacement bolt at no charge, I think.

I had less trouble installing the handlebars, although I did somehow screw up my shifting in the process (which I hope I’ve solved now, we’ll see) and did a pretty poor job installing new handlebar tape on the right side. I’ll probably undo it completely and try again. I also plan on some twine and shellac but given how badly I did the wrapping, I’m glad I didn’t do that yet. I also moved my computer from the road bike to the Trucker. Once the replacement fender bolt comes, I can install the rear fender and then the rear rack and this bike will be a lot closer to the kind of setup I’m shooting for.

I didn’t get a lot of riding in over the weekend. I was hoping to do a nice long ride but it was just too hot, so I did shorter rides both days. My shifting was messed up so I switched to friction mode. It’s great to have that option.

Shilo Ride on Saturday

I had heard they finished repaving Shilo Road, so I figured I ought to check it out. I actually liked how rough Shilo was; it made it fun and challenging to ride. I hoped they hadn’t ruined it.

It was so hot and humid that there was a pervasive haze everywhere I went. This added interest to the scenery and the sky, but mostly I just boiled.

New fender

I saw a lot of wildflowers, but things are looking rather parched. We had flooding this spring, but it really hasn’t rained much since. There are lots of golden and brown plants. It’s both pretty to look at and a bit sad.

The sky

Wildflowers and brown corn

Great fence

This section used to be riddled with potholes

My bicycle

I can’t believe how smooth the road is now

As I rode my fears were confirmed: Shilo is nowhere near as fun to ride on as it used to be. It’s a smooth, easy ride now, but the challenge is gone. I still enjoy it, but I liked it better when I had to dodge potholes.

The Trucker by Shiloh Cemetery

Another view

Some spots of light penetrate the canopy

The flats on the Nitto Noodle bars sweep back a bit, for comfortable upright riding. It looks funny but feels great.

Hills in the distance



I really like the Nitto Noodle handlebars so far. They are wider than the ones that came with the bike, and sweep back toward you slightly. I find it a lot more comfortable to sit upright with my hands on the top of the bars, with these. The ramps are nearly flat which makes riding there or on the hoods more comfortable, as well. I also love the look of the Cinelli Corky tape. I think it’ll look even better with a couple of layers of amber shellac, and some twine.

The fender seems good, but the front end tends to vibrate a lot. I wonder if there’s something I can do about that. It doesn’t rattle, it just shakes back and forth. Hopefully, I can find something to stabilize it.

It feels good to make the Trucker feel more like my own. It was great straight off the sales floor, but as I customize it, I can see that I can turn this into something even better. It’s such a versatile bike that you could do just about anything with it, and unlike my road bike, I can see having this bike for years to come.

9 Responses to “I am not good with a wrench”

  1. Eric Says:

    How can you possibly be wistful about the disappearance of potholes. Yikes!

    I like the motion shots you took. Have you figured out a secure way to hold the camera while aiming it back at your bike for the wheel shot? That’s really cool.

    It was miserably hot here on Saturday too, although that didn’t keep me in either. Fortunately the heat broke for Sunday, but not soon enough to keep me from getting a heat rash on my forehead (too many sunburns this summer, I think).

  2. furiousball Says:

    judging from that shot of the sky, you could have hung out for a few minutes and asked Jesus to help you with the wrench

  3. robert Says:

    Those VO fluted fenders are sweet, I’m going to use those if I ever build up another bicycle. Bicycles look so much more I dunno, finished with fenders, your LHT is looking great. Noodles look nice too then the stock ‘bars.

  4. Apertome Says:

    Eric: about holding the camera, I just held with my arm extended and the camera pointed back at the wheel. That might be harder with the DSLR you carry.

    Robert: thanks, it’ll really look great once I get the rear fender installed. And the rack. It’s nice to see everything coming together.

  5. Tim Says:

    Although I feel for you in your plight as a non-wrench, it’s nice to hear that someone out there who rides isn’t just amazing with tools. I always feel inadequate when people are constantly rebuilding hubs, switching out bottom brackets and welding their own racks. Concerning the fenders, are you all full up with leather washers and such? they seem to be the thing to do with any metal fenders.

    As to the look of the trucker, kudos. I’m at a point with mine where it just feels right for what I do with it, and it seems you’re getting there.

  6. Pete Says:

    Wrapping bars is a pain in the butt. Don’t worry, it gets easier. 🙂 Nice looking Trucker, I’m jealous.

  7. Doug Says:

    The fenders are going to look great. From my experience, all the fenders I’ve ever used vibrate back and forth. As long as they aren’t making contact with the tires, I wouldn’t worry about it. I think it’s normal.

    I have Nitto Noodles on my Cross Check. The LHT will get them eventually. But it isn’t a priority right now. For sure the new Ellis Cycle I’m having built will get a Noodle Bar. It’s the most comfortable drop bar I’ve ever used. What’s the width on yours? I’m using a 42 cm.

  8. Apertome Says:

    I’m running 46 cm Noodles. I probably would’ve been OK with 48s too. I measured the bars that came with the bike and they were 43 cm — no wonder they felt narrow to me, as a bigger guy.

  9. Marty Says:

    Looks like a fine bike, particularly with the additions you made.

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