After trying to ride home from Downtown to West Seattle a few times, on the Novara, it was clear that I would have to take the long way around, avoiding the more direct route that I use with my mountain bike. This road bike’s gear ratio just didn’t allow for a low enough gear for me to climb hills with any confidence.
In my wheel building class a few months ago, I met the very talented Tom Atkinson of Pie Cycles. He took a keen interest in my Novara project, and enthusiastically offered to help me convert the double chain ring to a triple so I could have more hill climbing gears. He even salvaged the perfect Shimano crankset for me from one of his other projects. One cold & rainy Seattle Saturday in December, I watched as Tom put my bike on the stand, took out my old chainrings, cranks, and front derailleur, and installed the new system. During the process, he installed a new bottom bracket, which was sorely needed. As he was doing this, I was truing my wheels on his Park stand. (Arcane Life Skill Learned, check!)
When you have the leverage of the pedals to move the crank, it’s quite hard to detect how crunchy an old bottom bracket has become. Once the cranks came off, he asked me to test out the old bottom bracket, and it was even crunchier than I expected. Imagine stirring a jar full of sand with a screwdriver, and you get the idea.
Once he had the new sealed bearing bottom bracket installed, I felt it, and it was buttah! Since it was so rainy, I would have to save the hill climbing for another day.
When that day came, I conquered the Yancy/Andover skybridge in low gear, and arrived home triumphant. Now it really is a Novara Trionfo.