Changing Bars

Bars and cables before replacement
Bars and cables before replacement

Because I’ve been having some problems with Cyclist’s palsy, which started soon after putting new bars on my bike, I decided to switch back to the old bars just to see if that might alleviate the problem.  Changing bars means unwrapping the tape, removing the STI levers, removing and replacing the stem and bars, sliding the STI levers onto the exactly correct position on the replaced bars, clamping them in place, pre-loading and tightening the stem onto the stearer tube to ensure no play in the headset, doing a few test rides and re-adjusting until the levers and bars are positioned correctly, then re-taping the bars.  Also, on one of the test rides, discovering that one of the brake cables is too short on the replaced bars, necessitating finding a replacement cable in my bin of bike parts, threading the new cable into the levers and housing and brake calipers, cutting the cable and crimping a cap onto the cable end. Happily, it’s easy to find how-to articles, even videos for each of these steps.  How did anyone manage to work on a bike before Google?

Actually, part of the answer is, before Google, bikes were simpler and didn’t change as frequently.  Like car manufactures, companies like Shimano, Sram and Campagnola are creating new and improved designs every year to suck more money from naive cyclists.  Each new design has different methods for installation and removal.

Karl on Peterson Hill
Karl on Peterson Hill

Anyway, the final step in my bar replacement was a test ride around the north end of the island to verify all was good.  Bike was good, everything tight and in the right place.  A light rain was just starting to fall as I reached the top of Peterson Hill, about four miles from home.


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Born in Harrisburg, PA. Undergrad at Drexel University. Learned to ride a bike when six years old, riding ever since. Started cooking when I was in college, stopped when I got married, started again in 2006 when my wife was out of town for a few months. Jobs: worked at post office while in college to earn money to buy a stereo. After grad school, worked at a small software company in Redmond, WA for twelve years. Afterwards, went back to school to get a certificate, then started teaching high school. Still doing that off and on, part time as the need arises.

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