Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Bicycle

There she is: my 1987 Fisher Hoo-koo-e-koo.*



It's a wonder she's lasted 20 years. In the summer of 1988, after a full year of riding her the way a mountain bike is meant to be ridden, I decided the proper thing to do was give her a complete overhaul. I was unemployed, I'd read Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I figured, “How hard could this be?” I purchased a few specialty tools, then spent an afternoon taking her apart. Four hours later, the pieces were neatly arranged on my apartment floor, and I was carefully cleaning every last ballbearing with an old toothbrush dipped in kerosene.

Four hours after that, she was reassembled ... sort of. Everything was where it belonged, but it wasn't quite fitting together the way it should, particularly in the bottom bracket. I wasn't able to fully reinstall the two cups that held the bearings and crank axle — I experienced a great deal more resistance putting them back in than I had removing them. So I called my local bicycle shop and asked if they had any advice. “Better wheel her in,” said the gear-head.

I did, and explained the situation all over again to the guy who met me at the door. He listened to me without interrupting. When I was done, he cleared his throat and said, “Well, for starters, you've put the cups in the wrong mounts. If you reefed on 'em hard enough, you've probably stripped the threads in your bottom bracket.”

D'oh!

And that's been my history with this lovely bike: I'm a gentle rider who reserves his most abusive treatment for those down-times in the shop.

Two more photos, highlighting some of my accessories. Note the Kellogg's Rooster reflector — a bitter inspiration of covetousness for my daughters:



Still, my younger daughter saw fit to award me this nifty handlebar decoration three years ago:



With the arrival of spring, I decided it was time to replace my brake shoes. I purchased two pairs, came home and dismantled the brakes. Midway through reassembly, I realized I'd lost track of what went where. I collected everything, threw it into the trunk of our car and headed back to the shop — 20 years older, and none the wiser.

*I couldn't tell you what the name means, except that it was “borrowed” from Indian history, specifically a tribe that resided in Northern California.

7 comments:

DarkoV said...

"Hoo-koo-e-koo"?

Don't know about that American Indian thing you'd mentioned. Seems to me "Hoo-koo-e-koo" is more the war cry emanating from your lips as you descended a too-steep track thus causing incredibly loud pain to the lower regions. How you had two adorable daughters after your off-road escapades is for Science to find out. I recommend you donating your body to Mr. Science upon your passing so that they can figure that one out.

Whisky Prajer said...

My commencement into fatherhood is indeed a scientific curiosity. When I see how the current mountain bike manufacturers make their products lighter than a paper plate, then give every spoke its own shock absorber, it's all I can do to stifle a "ha-RUMPF!!" Why, back in my day it was enough to absorb shock with your triceps and your rotator cuff!!! Feh - kids these days.

Whisky Prajer said...

Re: "hoo-koo-e-koo" - isn't that how the McKenzie Brothers open their show?

DarkoV said...

Just noticed that you had pronouned the male bicycle (the frame's top bar is horizontal, not angled) as she. Is there a story here that we're missing?

Whisky Prajer said...

Um ... mountain bikes only came in the one style of frame, back then, and, uh ....

OK, I've got nothing.

Elizajean said...

wow! can't believe my eyes - someone else is still riding their hoo-koo-e-koo! Mine is pretty much mint, despite the potholes and other indignities of being a New York City bike...

David Drewry said...

Hoo-koo-e-koo is the name of an awesome trail on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, home of Mountain Biking, and undoubtedly a favorite trail of Mr. Gary Fisher. The trail was named after a very small sub tribe of the costal Miwoks that used to live in the area before we killed them all.