Rider on the storm; Madone 10,000 KM report.
Sometimes I really enjoy riding in the rain. I’m not always in the mood for it, of course, but there are occasions when a rain ride puts a huge smile on my face…
Yesterday was one of those days. I was already planning to do a complete 6,000 mile/10,000 kilometer tear-down and tune of my Madone yesterday evening (more on that below), so I wasn’t worried about my bike getting drenched.
When I set off on my ride there was a moderate, steady rain falling. There were occasional strong gusts of wind, but for the most part it was surprisingly calm. The cool rain felt invigorating, especially on the heels of the very hot weather we’ve had over the past week or two. I rode pretty hard on the straights, but took the corners slowly and with extra care.
About thirty minutes in to my ride the rain started to come down extremely hard. I didn’t care, and just pedaled faster. I was having so much fun! As motorists approached me they saw me smiling, and several of them smiled back. A couple of them even waved.
I didn’t see any other cyclists out there, but I passed two dedicated souls out for a run. As we approached and passed, nods of mutual respect were exchanged through the heavy sheets of rain. No fair-weathered athletes were out on a morning such as this one!
When I finished my ride I really wanted to tear down my bike and get started on my 10,000 kilometer maintenance, but I had a lot of work-work to do. I dutifully dried my bike off (my bikes are rode hard, but they are never put away wet!), and promised her I’d return later that evening for some much-deserved TLC.
I’ve already put almost 10,000 kilometers/6,000 miles on my new Madone (3,600+ kilometers/2,254 miles over the past 2 months alone), and so yesterday evening I went out to my bike shop to give her a complete tear-down, inspection, tune and cleaning. I also replaced the chain and cassette.
When I pulled the cranks off, once again I found the bottom bracket bearings to be clean, rust-free, dry and rotating silky-smooth. At this point I can confidently state that Trek has solved the bottom bracket water intrusion/bearing issues that plagued my 2011 Madone. I figured after 10,000 kilometers it would be time to replace the bearings, but they are still in pristine operating condition; I simply cleaned and greased them.
I took the entire bike down to the bare frame, cleaning, inspecting and lubing (as required) everything: brake system, pedals, headset, crankset, bottom bracket, forks, wheels, stem, bars, derailleurs, saddle, seatpost, shifters, cranks, Di2 electronics and so on. As mentioned above, the cassette and chain were also replaced. The bike was reassembled with care, each bolt tightened using a torque wrench.
When I was first learning about bike maintenance I often found myself feeling frustrated and way over my head. Instead of giving up, over the past couple of years I continued to educate myself through books and videos. I can’t really put my finger on when it happened, but at some point I realized that working on my bikes was no longer stressful–in fact, I now find bike maintenance relaxing. Seriously, all day yesterday I couldn’t wait to finish my work so I could get out into my shop and work on my bikes (I also worked on my mountain bike last night).
There are some fantastic shops out there with very experienced and competent mechanics. Unfortunately, though, there are also shops with terrible mechanics: some are incompetent, some are lazy, some just don’t give a crap and some are a mixture of all of those things. I personally know cyclists who have been injured because their bikes were not properly serviced by the people they trusted to do the work right.
No one will ever care about the safety and reliability of your bike more than you do, and that’s a fact. One of the reasons I prefer to do all of my own maintenance is because I know the job has been done right. That said, I know some fantastic professional mechanics who I definitely trust. If I were ever faced with a mechanical issue I could not resolve on my own, I would not hesitate to take my bike to one of those guys. It’s important to ask around, do your research and find a shop that has a long and proven track record.