34 hours of train travel brought me to Portland. It was a nice relaxing trip with chance to sit back, read the kindle and watch the scenery go by. Sleeping in the seats is always a bit awkward, but fortunately only one night this time. Once there I assembled the bike and took the light rail to my motel.
Wednesday morning I found my way to Sugar Wheel Works where I had ordered a new back wheel to be built. This wheel uses a DT Swiss 540 hub, which uses a ratchet mechanism instead of pawls that flip out. What I also like about the hub is that it can be maintained without special tools. I got an extra ratchet and extra springs as well as extra spokes. Hope this wheel does better than the Phil Woods version that failed twice in my first 5000 miles. However, just in case I have the old wheel mailed off to Austin as a backup.
Once the bike was dropped off, I could wander through familiar haunts from living in Portland from 2009 to 2012. Powell’s is an obvious stop where I found a set of maps for the next three phases.
The umbrella man is classic statue in Pioneer Square.
Also here was a place to drop off your (mail-in) ballot.
I noticed that the car-to-go here have bike racks on them. Hadn’t seen that in Austin.
I also stopped past the place AMD used to have an office. We rented space on the mezzanine level at top of the arches. That was all closed when AMD shut the office at end of 2012.
One last photo of the wheel once I picked up the bike after my travels through the city.
I’ve got a few more days in Portland before taking Amtrak down to Austin departing on Saturday.
Tag Archives: hub
Today was example of how cycle touring doesn’t always go to plan, particularly with mechanical issues.
I had a simple plan worked out: (1) spend two days cycling ~120 miles from Rawlins to Laramie via Medicine Bow (2) rent a car for weekend to drive to Colorado and do the Pedal the Plains ride, visit family and get the bike serviced.
I had another hub go out on me today. Actually, I’ll still be able to do the other parts of the plans since I got a ride into Medicine Bow, a hotel room and a ride tomorrow morning to Laramie – but also need to sort through these hub issues.
Today started out normal enough. Rawlins is on a major transportation corridor with trail lines as well as I-80. Forecast called for headwinds early and decreasing through the day.
First seven miles went on back road via Sinclair. Sinclair is a very small town with a large oil refinery. They were rebuilding the main street but I was able to get along other roads. I stopped in at the truck stop before getting on I-80.
This Fed-Ex truck had broken down and was getting a tow.
Next 14 miles were on the interstate. There was a broad shoulder and cycling was easy. The last few miles before my exit, there was road construction that routed both directions onto our half of the interstate. Fortunately, I was on the half with the wide shoulder as other direction would have been tougher.
At 21 miles was a shell station and much quieter roads. One or two miles were flatter and then good hill to climb. I was nearly at the top when had a louder clang. Somewhat surprisingly, then noticed that the hub was spinning freely both directions. The end failure was same as my earlier hub (spinning freely both ways) but symptoms before that were much different: on the previous hub it had been occasionally slipping for a while. This failure was much more sudden (haven’t opened things up but wondering if previous one was more pawls getting gunked up and this one was a spring breaking? – in any case more unexpected today.
While there isn’t much traffic on a road like this, there was a higher percentage of pickup trucks. It didn’t take long and I was able to flag one down. Kind folks who lived in Medicine Bow were driving there and gave me a lift the remaining 30 miles to the Virginian hotel in town. Here I had lunch as well as asked if anyone was going to Laramie today or tomorrow. I’ve arranged for a lift from one of the employees tomorrow morning. Plan is that I’ll go pick up the rental car I have reserved and then pick up the bike to bring it for service.
So I’m in Medicine Bow (as I planned), going to Laramie (as I planned), picking up a car (as I planned) and bringing the bike in to service (as I planned). However, rather unexpected was having the hub go on that hill earlier today. A google search of “phil woods hub failure” says I’m not the only one to have seen this issue – but will need to investigate a bit more before going to Latin America if there is a better alternative that can be more reliable.
Smithers, hub fixed
Hooray, my bike is ready to go again.
I had been checking the UPS tracking numbers and was getting a bit concerned that by middle of the day, the last status was still “arrived in Prince George”. Hence, decided to stop by McBike just in case and was pleasantly surprised to discover the hub parts had been delivered in the morning. They were almost done with the bike since I had also asked for replacing worn cassette and chain as well.
I just picked things up and the bike rides well and appreciate Phil Wood for sending up the parts under warranty and McBike for their work in getting me going again.
Below is an image of the broken hub part to briefly describe what failed. The end view shows five pawls that normally stick out one direction engage in a ratchet wheel to drive the hub forward. When one spins the other direction, these pawls stay pushed in to let the hub spin freely.
The problem was that the pawls were getting stuck in the “disengage” level and the hub was spinning freely in both directions. Not particularly useful when you want the hub to engage and let you drive forward. When the chain “skipped forward” perhaps one pawl was missed and when it rotated freely all pawls were missed.
The second picture gives an end view including the spring that sits in middle of the pawls and provides pressure to help keep the pawls popped out so they will engage.
What appears to have failed is a combination of the spring no longer pushing the pawls back out and the pawls themselves getting stuck in off position. Perhaps one contributing factor was the grease getting dirty/contaminated so providing extra help in keeping the pawls stuck. Phil Woods send an extra version of the freehub body as well as some grease, instructions. In addition since we weren’t 100% certain if I had a four-pawl or five-pawl hub, they sent some extra pawls. The replacement pieces were sufficient for mechanic to fix things.
One thing I’m thinking in future is carrying an extra freehub overhaul kit as well as perhaps learning a bit more on taking hubs apart to put in fresh grease.
In any case, happy to have things fixed and be ready to ride again.