Following two years of commuting and minor maintenance, the bicycle needed a thorough tuning before tackling the open road. Taking the opportunity to improve upon my somewhat limited knowledge of bicycle maintenance, I did as much as I could in the garage without specialized tools. This included cleaning and inspection of components, cleaning and greasing the front wheel bearings and steering head bearings on the front fork. Jim Haugan, the father of my former bandmate, Greg, invited me to his shop in Woodbridge to get some work done. Over the course of three hours we installed a new Shimano sealed bottom bracket, Z50 chain, 6 speed cassette, greased the rear wheel bearings, new cables and trued the wheels. It was nearly ready for the big ride but still needed fresh rubber and lights attached.
Years ago when I heard they were opening a bicycle shop in Arlington, VA specializing in antique and used bicycles, I was quite excited. I stumbled into the appropriately named Old Bike Shop on their first day and met Larry, the affable and knowledgeable owner. When I wrecked my bicycle a few winters back, Larry was there to inspect the bike and suggest which components I needed to bring it back into riding condition. He's a mechanic's mechanic and the guys at the shop, shout out to Sway and Marshall, are super helpful and fun. When I stopped by the shop for tires and tubes, Sway hooked it up with some 27" Panaracer Pasela touring tires and new tubes. Once installed I could finally take the bike out for a shakedown ride and after some fender adjustment and tuning of brakes, things were feeling great! Yesterday I returned to The Old Bike Shop for some friendly chit-chat and to say "goodbye' before the journey began. Much to my surprise, Larry loaded me up with a ton of spare parts including some NOS Suntour derailleurs (Front and Back) and downtube shifters with new cables. What a guy! I mentioned having a few spare spokes and before I knew it, he came out front with a handful of spokes fitting my wheel with fresh nipples and a spoke wrench. The kindness and support from these guys makes me miss living in Arlington. I'd be over there all the time! When I arrived home after the 32 miles of cycling around the area, the legs were feeling strong and the body hungry for more.