Imagine you need to change the cable on your dream honey road bike, the one you adore, and you come across this:
Pictured here is a Campagnolo 8 speed shifter, with a badly stuck, misshapen cable end, cut to the quick, mentioned in an earlier post and since, my sweet baby has been sitting apart, the triple crank canned for the Landshark. I had visited Montlake Bicycles, my favorite shop in Seattle, and they said they could do it. I was very, very skeptical. There was no place to grab the broken off piece, and I had tried, when the cable was still on it, to push the thing through while winding the cable mega-tight. Didn’t work – it was as though I had used lock-tite on it, which I would not do. This challenge makes removing a stuck seat post suddenly seem like an easy thing.
“We can probably get that out for you, let me ask the mechanic.”
“How?” I asked.
“Well, we’ll do it carefully with special tools.”
“What special tools?” I asked, persistently. “I’ve got a lot of special tools myself and I can’t do this.”
I was left waiting in the showroom while my shifter was taken to the back shop, across the way. Montlake Bicycles has the very best selection, or shall I say collection, of unobtainium Cannondale parts, and I gave them a rare 1 1/2″ threaded fork. I got irritated at this, and went over to the back shop.
“You should wait outside” I was told.
“I need to talk to you first.” I said, persistently. “I want to know HOW you plan on getting that out.”
“With these bits.” he said. I looked at them from across the room and knew they were HSS. He made me very angry by making a crazy assumption and telling me that I’m not a mechanic! I made it clear to this man that I was not only a mechanic, I was also a machinist that has designed my own truing stand and frame jig, but because I hadn’t worked in a bike shop as an underpaid wage earner, had only worked in my own home-based shop, I was unemployable.
“Are they carbide?” I asked.
“Let me see.” He showed me and they said COBALT. I laughed. Cobalt bits are nice, but not hard enough.
“These are high speed steel, and softer than cables. Won’t work. I tried that. I have more drill bits than this shop and the next one combined. What I need is CARBIDE or a ruby bit” We talked, and he soon realized that I indeed knew what I was talking about. It was concluded by this expert mechanic that it could not be done and I needed a new shifter wheel, and that he had one at home and would sell to me. (never called me, though) Two months passed, bike on red X.
So where did I go? I went to the dentist. As I’m sitting there waiting, I was staring at these beautiful little drill bits and thinking how one of them could get into that shifter wheel and grind enough so that I could pop the damn stuck piece of shit through. I asked the dentist:
“Do you have one of those that’s a little worn out, that I could have?” And lo, he gave me one. An hour of fucking with it on my truck mounted vice, getting it out just enough so that I could find purchase on it, and using a corner chisel, it worked. It felt like I should get another stripe on my belt. It was a sweet victory, and now I shall be riding my LaBan once again, without going back to Shy man O. Special thanks to Montlake Bicycles for not calling me back when I put in a resume and cover letter (prior to the time I went in there looking for help, and I should know better)
IT’S TIME TO RIDE!
Diaper pins are what hold my cuffs from the terrible fate of un-held pants. I’m always getting them confiscated at the entrance to the courthouse, though!by