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BIG LIZARD LOG: Return to action

Battle damage plus weapons of mass distraction have had my favorite bike on the sidelines for months. All that ends — now.

Just came back from Black Mountain Bicycles with a newly restored Big Lizard.

big lizard 20 sept

For you new IBIT readers out there, Big Lizard is my name for my forest-green Giant Iguana mountain bike, which will turn 19 years old some time in 2013.

The Liz hadn’t been the same since my low-speed crash on asphalt late last fall, scarcely a week after setting him up with beautiful new wheels that make him look fast even when he’s hanging from his hook in the garage.

(I say “my crash” because Big Lizard is never responsible for such undignified events. Don’t believe me? Just ask him. Also, this pic shows him with his old wheels. The new ones are much more sexy-looking than this.)

I looked him over and he seemed okay, but as it turned out, he really wasn’t.

The problems were all up front — the front brake out of alignment and out of adjustment, the front wheel out of true, so much so that you could look down and see the wheel wobbling from side to side as it turned.

When you squeezed the lever to apply the front brake, it practically was rubbing up against the handlebar before the bike started to slow down. Not good, especially in San Diego’s hilly terrain.

Meanwhile, the sundry distractions of life grabbed me by the nose (or something). Result: week upon week on not riding. And in more ways than one, it shows.

Back to the shop we went.

Now, after one day in drydock, everything’s fine. The front wheel spins straight and true, nary a hint of wobble. The front brake is smooth and strong and perfect.

In talking to the mechanics, aka the bike whisperers, at Black Mountain Bicycles, I find out that at least some of them have the same love for old machines that I do.

Nineteen is about 65 in bike years, especially a mountain bike. But my 1994 Giant Iguana was perfect for exercise riding and bike commuting.

No exotic frames, complex gearing, tricky suspension front and back. Just a simply designed and solidly built bike that will get you there, smoothly, and get you back. Almost 20 years and uncounted thousands of miles later, it still does.

And now the guys have restored him to action. Big Lizard is once again cocked, locked and ready to rock. Which also means that, once again, the bike is in far better shape than its owner.

Time, and a few hundred miles, should take care of that. They’d better, for I have promises to keep.

And Coach seats to fit in before I sleep.

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