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day trip

Chain Adjustment and Chatham

Last night I spotted a torque wrench sale at Canadian Tire. Both the 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive torque wrenches were 50% off and I debated over whether I should buy both, but I ended up with the 1/2″ wrench since it was all I needed for the chain adjustment I had planned for the following morning. I know Canadian Tire cycles their sales pretty regularly, so I can pick up the other one at some other point.

After Sam’s early morning swimming lesson, I got the wrench out and my laid out my tools to get started on the adjustment. Well, it only took a few moments to realize that my socket set didn’t include a 22mm socket and while the Sherpa’s OEM tool kit did have a 22mm wrench, it wouldn’t really help me torque the wheel nut back on properly. Because there isn’t a good project that doesn’t require more than one trip to the hardware store, I went out to Canadian Tire again to pick up the 22mm socket. I also thought it would be a good idea to get a few spare stainless steel cotter pins. On the way back home, I stopped by a Timmies that was re-opening after a facelift. I normally don’t drink their coffee, but I’m out of coffee beans. Plus, who can say no to free cake and lemonade?

The adjustment itself was pretty straightforward. I started off by going to a setting too high on one side, which made it too difficult to match the other side. I checked the chain slack again and determined it was already tight enough. Just as a reference, the service manual calls for a slack of 35 to 55mm. My initial calculations revealed an average slack of about 60mm – definitely out of spec. After the adjustment, I am very close to the 35mm at the lower end of the tolerance. As you can see in the following picture, the chain used to be very loose and now it is much more taut.

Before and after comparison

Before and after comparison

In the meantime, Mel gave her 599 a quick wax and removed built-up brake dust on her wheels. So far the day was really shaping up nicely with a beautiful blue sky, shining sun, and temperatures rising above 15C. We got dressed in our gear and warmed up the bikes for a few moments before taking off on our first true day trip of 2013. I would be bringing Mel and Sam on what was actually my first day trip a week after getting the Sherpa 9 months ago to see my good friend Nat. The drive to Chatham from London can be done on the boring 401, but instead we would be taking Longwoods Rd, which travels through small communities and at least offers a few minor bends. There are a lot of farms and wide open areas, but the winds were not so bad today.

Quick stop in Melbourne, ON on the way to Chatham

In Melbourne, we took a quick stop as I tried to find a restroom. I guess small villages don’t like strangers using their restrooms. The two convenience stores and the two restaurants (one closed) wouldn’t let people pee… Oh well. We made sure Sam was settling in well with her new gear, which included a like-new riding jacket and some new gloves.

We got to Chatham without a hitch, but with full bladders, and hung out at Nat’s place for a bit and played some Frisbee in the beautiful weather. If I could live in a place with this kind of weather year round, it would be wonderful. Southern France maybe?

Frisbee with Nat

Frisbee with Nat, not in France

On the way back, Sam could not help but point out all the barn quilts that we would see on every other barn. We had pretty easy riding back to London and continued to see a variety of bikes out enjoying the nice weather.

This short day trip of roughly 220km provided somewhat of a baseline for the rest of the riding season. In about a month’s time, we are planning to head southeast to visit a few States on our first multi-day trip!

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