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Manky Panky

This is the story of using something harder than intended. More exactly a steel 1984 Trek road bike I converted to a single speed to amuse myself with during the Winter. Which entails endless salt dunes and massive pothole hiding chemical slurry pools interspersed with every variety of ice in known existence.

All sharing one thing in common. Sand, lots and lots sand. Which is, for those not blatantly aware, nature’s most perfect penetrating abrasive. This is why rust is so prevalent. Nothing escapes cyclical scouring and corrosive washes. Oh, and that minor event which calves off mansion sized chunks of cliffside. In this case an exaggerated freeze / thaw cycle of approximately -40 F outdoor lows to 110 F indoor fireside thaws.

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That is a period correct top tier road racing crank that survived frankly too much to detail before being sacrificed to decadent pleasures.

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Tire pressures at well below zero temps are quite low and air resistance (not to mention fighting thick clothes to move at all) is very high in static conditions. It is nearly never calm. Arctic cold fronts mean high winds which compact snow into a slightly concrete form everywhere you would wish to ride. On top of ice which allows it a nice place to slide around and collapse nice friendly light snowflakes into a hard packed momentum resisting obstacle.

The sum of all these forces is considerable enough application of torque becomes an art form. How close can you come to actually staying upright by grunting with exertion standing against a pedal while pulling back with all your might. Very rarely. As it turns out riding on a moonscape is pretty bouncy. To say the least, cheap easily rectified cranks snap with regularity during this kind of treatment and I rather like my teeth and knees intact. Dura Ace or nothing. All of this compacted into two easy to digest images.

Illustration for article titled Manky Panky
Illustration for article titled Manky Panky
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If you guessed the not pictured drive side is cracked at the pedal you would be correct. If you also guessed that for every ride 3 hours or over an immediate emergency level maintenance session approximately 3 hours long was undertaken. To the frame, to pieces, through multiple debrining and degreasing tanks, to bare clean surfaces meticulously rebuilt in the hopes of resisting irresistible forces as long as possible before grit and liquid intrusion start causing wear on vital parts. That diamond shaped hole should be a perfect square. This chain should not be suspended.

Illustration for article titled Manky Panky
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I dare you to try stretching a bike chain out that far. [Cue Farscythe’s abominable reply] When it became clear the entire drivetrain was going in the bin I basically stopped giving a shit one way or the other and went at stuff as balls out as nursing it along until the streets were swept allowed. No cleaning or refreshing of any kind. Now a fresh start with kind thanks to the very generous Highlander- Datsuns are Forever. Who I remounted the old chain for.

Illustration for article titled Manky Panky

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