Thursday, July 10, 2014
Probably better than I expected, but not great nonetheless.
When I dislocated my right shoulder in January in a cycling crash on Black Ice, things started out fine for several weeks. I was going to Physio, and while swelling in the shoulder was going down things were improving rapidly, however six weeks out things started going downhill (fast) and ten weeks out I decided I needed to get more answers.
Emails back and forth with my wife's Uncle Jack (a Sports Medicine specialist) going over symptoms suggested two tears, one in the supraspinatus tendon and one in the Labrum, but until I was able to get in to see him for a physical exam at the end of May we couldn't progress any further. The physical exam gave essentially the same suspected diagnosis as the email conversation, with a request for two diagnostic imaging procedures (an MR Arthrogram and an Ultrasound) to see what's actually going on.
The MR Arthrogram (an MRI with a Gadolinium contrast agent injected directly into the joint) was last Monday. It was a supremely weird feeling having a needle directly in the joint, but the rest of it was fairly straight forward - lie still with my body in a great big washing machine. Today I met back with Jack to get the results.
First, my supraspinatus tendon is not torn. It has a fair amount of scarring yes, but it's not torn; if it had been it likely would have meant surgery. It is expected that this will heal on its own and/or with physio. The MRI also showed that the muscles of the rotator cuff were all in good shape and exactly where they should be, as is the biceps and the biceps tendon.
Second, I have a fair amount of scar tissue in the area of the acromioclavicular joint. I had to Google that - it's where the shoulder blade and collarbone meet. The scar tissue in this area prevented me from putting my arm behind my back, reaching backwards, and severely limited my range of motion. This scar tissue has gone down significantly since May, and things are much better, but my right shoulder is still significantly worse than my left. It is expected that this will heal on its own and/or with physio.
Third, I have a small Hill Sachs lesion on my humerus head. This is not unexpected - many (if not most) shoulder dislocations have this type of injury, essentially a groove in the bone that comes from dragging it across other bones as it gets pulled out. This injury is minor, and doesn't need any intervention.
Fourth, I have an anterior glenoid labrum separation. This is the big one, and most likely does mean surgery. It's at this point that Bruce (SPEEDYDOG) would put in a cool picture, but I'm feeling kind of lazy. Basically, the shoulder joint consists of two parts, a ball and a socket. The ball is the humerus head (where I've got the Hill Sachs lesion), while the socket comes in two pieces: the glenoid process which is bone and makes up only a small part of the socket, and the glenoid labrum which is a cartilage ring and makes up most of the socket. The biceps tendon attaches to the labrum (not to the bone) and when my shoulder was dislocated, the biceps tendon was jerked hard and violently pulled the labrum off the bone.
The next step? Meeting with a surgeon to get a plan in place.
Friday, April 18, 2014
I took the time today to get some nice shots of the bike in the sun.
May I present Geysir:
I love the color!
Road brake levers, but no shifters here.
A front view of the handlebar. You can see the stem plate matching the frame color, and the auxiliary bar with the shifter and light mounted under the handlebar.
The cockpit. You can see the shifter on the right side of the auxiliary bar and a mirror installed on the end of the left handlebar.
A side view of the steerer tube. You can see the auxiliary bar, the stem, and the spacers. I've got room to move things around if my riding position changes.
Cabling running around the rack mount. Brake cable is on top, shifter cables are on the bottom.
The saddle, with a emergency maintenance kit and the spare headlight in a bag underneath
The 53-tooth chainring mounted to the Alfine crank
The front brake calipers
The rear brake calipers
The rear wheel, showing cable routing to the brakes and hub, as well as the fender and rack mounts.
Friday, April 18, 2014
This the fourth part of my blog series about my new bike, the one that I've built up. It's taken a long time for me to get jazzed about writing this post, mainly because now I can't ride it. Long story, check the blog post two back to see the reasons why.
When last I left the story, I had completed the course, and completed the frame.
Now came the fun of getting the rest of the build-up done.
First, I had to get it painted. When my wife agreed that I could do the course, one of her few conditions was that I had to maximize visibility, so my thinking was that I would get it painted the most garish violent neon yellow I could. I then decided that I would get the majority of the rest of the components in black (duh!) with some silver, and minimize the appearance of any other colors. That meant first I had to look into aluminum annodizing. You see, the sliding dropouts for my Roholoff hub are aluminum, but one was already anodized black, and the other was flash anodized silver, and I wanted them both to be black.
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that hardens the surface of aluminum parts by growing a thin layer of aluminum oxide. While the oxide is growing, it can be dyed a wide range of colors, which results in a nice even long-lasting color - this is the process that Apple uses on iPods to get those beautiful colors.
I then had to look into paint. I decided early on that I wanted to powder coat the frame. Powder coating uses an electrostatic process to deposit dry paint powder onto metal surfaces which are then baked in an oven to melt the powder to form a very hard, very smooth, drip-free and long-lasting surface. There are lots of powder variants that can be used to give different surface effects, but I wanted it simple: a nice smooth glossy surface.
Calling around, I found three local companies that do anodizing, and several that do powder coating, and one that does both. I took the frame in to talk to a couple powder coating companies about pricing and timeframes, and in the end decided to go with the company that did both. Neon yellow is, as you can probably guess, not a stock powder so it would be a special order from the United States. Tony, the manager, said that every time they order powder they get dinged for brokerage fees crossing the border so he usually recommends customers that do custom orders make the order themselves, because they usually don't get dinged. He showed me several samples, and sent me to browse power supplier web sites, and in the end I ordered 5 pounds of Prismatic Powders PSS-1104, Neon Yellow:
That was 5 pounds mainly because they need to flush the hoses of the powder applicator between colors, and because this was the first time they had ever shot this particular color Tony wasn't sure how the equipment would respond and what the coverage was, so he suggested that I order more than they needed.
Once that was underway, I e-mailed back and forth with Ed (the LBS) to finalize component selection, then got that order going. While waiting on the powder to be delivered, I spent a couple more hours carefully filing down and doing final shaping of the fillet brazes, especially focusing on the seatstay connections to the seat tube, the seatstay and chainstay bridges, and on the various braze-ons. Browsing a local frame builder's blog, I saw a cool effect where he had painted the handle bar stem plate to match the frame, and I though that looked pretty cool, so I had to go back into the LBS to change out my stem for one that could be powder coated (the original one had an inset epoxied into the front, and the epoxy would fail during baking.
Then I took the frame, the stem plate, and dropouts down to be painted and annodized.
And then I picked it up a couple days later. Beauty. It practically GLOWS!
The only problem: what do I do with the 3.5 pounds of powder I have left? Anyone want something powder coated neon yellow???
Now to do the build-up.
So far, I've gone with a Rohloff SpeedHub for the rear:
A Velocity front hub:
Hed Belgium C2 32-hole Rims:
And a Salsa Vaya Fork:
To this I added:
A Black Sotto Voce Chris King NoThreadSet Headset:
420mm FSA Compact Road Bars, the same as I used on my Brodie Once:
Tektro RL-520 Brake Levers:
A Thorn Accessory Bar for mounting the Rohloff twist shifter:
A Brodie 4-bolt 120mm stem (taken off another bike in the shop)
A 6-bolt 160mm Avid front disc brake rotor:
A 4-bolt 160mm Rohloff rear disc brake rotor:
Spyre Mechanical SLC Disc Brake Calipers
Shimano Alfine 170mm Cranks, off another bike. These came with a chainguard and a 39-tooth front chainring installed:
Shimano M505 pedals, off another bike. These are actually the same as on my Once:
A Praxis Bottom Bracket:
A FSA Road Pro 53-tooth chainring. We somehow managed to screw up the BCD dimensions on the original chainring I had purchased, so this was a last-minute replacement from Amazon:
I only purchased the larger chainring from a standard 53/39 double set. I had originally been planning on putting on a 48-tooth front chainring, but I couldn't find one that I could get delivered on time, so after crunching the numbers and realizing that a 53-tooth chainring gave me almost the same lower gear as I already had with my existing bike I decided to go with it. I can always put on a smaller chainring and a different chain if I ever decide I need a lower range.
An aluminum BBB seatpost:
A Fizik Arione Tri 2 Saddle:
A set of Axiom DLX Roadrunner Fenders:
And finally two cheap aluminum bottle cages, a seat post collar, black synthetic cork bar tape, and a set of headset spacers.
When I went to pick up the components, the Spyre brakes were recalled the day before, so I got a set of loaner Avid BB7 brakes instead. I also picked up a generic chain (more on that later), and purchased a couple small bags of M5 bolts, and I already had a small box of miscellaneous washers.
Once everything was together, the build-up happened in stages.
Just before Christmas, and started with mounting the bottom bracket and the headset onto the frame. The bottom bracket was relatively simple - I purchased the tool for doing that. However, the headset is a bit tricker. Park sells a tool to press-fit the headset into the head tube, but it's rather pricey. Instead I borrowed a "ghetto" tool from a co-worker, a big threaded rod, two big nuts, and a couple big washers. Getting everything aligned, it was just a matter of slowly tightening the bolts to put tension on the washers and push the headset into the frame. If you take your time and make sure everything is straight, it is pretty easy. To install the headset crown race onto the fork, I used a piece of 1 1/4" pipe and a rubber mallet.
At that point, I was ready to start mounting the rest of the components. First was the rear dropouts - those were pretty easy because they just slid right on in. Next was the fork, the auxiliary bar, the stem, and the handebar. I didn't cut the steerer tube yet, so everything was being held on by the screws on the stem. Next was the seat post, the collar, and the seat. I installed the disc rotors to the hubs, then attached the wheels to the frame and it was starting to look like a bike, not just a pile of components.
Next was the cranks and crankset. I have to admit - I screwed up here, and I put the chainring on the inside of the spider, leaving the chain guard in place. However, that caused me some grief because the 53-tooth chainring was making contact with the drive side chainstay, and that's not a good thing. I cut a couple pieces of plastic from a milk carton as a temporary spacer. I then installed the pedals.
Then it was Christmas, and then we headed over to the island for New Years. I packed up everything so that I could work on it over the break. Over on the island, I ran into a couple issues. First, I realized that the loaner brake calipers I picked up instead of the Spyre ones were missing two M6 mounting bolts, so I couldn't mount the font caliper. Grrr. Then I realized that the generic 100-link BMX chain that I had picked up was 3 links too short. Double Grrr. On the 30th, I sent out a emails to several possible sources of the the bolts and a chain - I was on an island and didn't feel like getting on a ferry.
I wasn't going to waste my time, so I kept on going. I cut and ran the cables for the rear hub, installed the shifter on the auxiliary bar, and connected the cables to the rear hub. I installed the brake levers, did a couple quick fits, decided on the lenth of the steerer tube, and cut it. I installed the spacers and the headset cap, cut and ran the cables for the brakes, and installed the bar tape. I built the bike with bottle bracket mounts on the chainstay and seatstay bridges facing inwards to the wheel for mounting the rear fender. The fender is normally installed with one bolt into the chainstay bridge and with a second bracket into a cantelever brake mount on the seatstay bridge. However I didn't have a cantelever brake mount, so I drilled a second hole in the fender to attach it to the seatstay mount. The result was a fender that was a fair distance from the wheel, so i realized I needed to do something about that, but I didn't have the necessary bits and bobs to do that right then.
As this was going on I got a whole series of negative responses to my component quest emails. It was looking like I wasn't going to get the missing components, but then I got a phone call from my last hope, a bicycle builder who lives on the island. He was home, and thought he might have what I needed, so I threw the bike into the van and drove over to meet him.
He then went over the bike with me, looking at everything, looking at the components, examining the hub closely (he had never actually seen one), and commenting how he liked the paint color. He commented that he liked the bike. We then went through his stash of components. He builds a number of recumbent and hand cycles, so he has extremely long chains, and we broke one to the exact length I needed. He had the M6 bolts too, so I paid him $20 for the chain, the bolts, and his time, and he wished me good luck.
At this point, I had everything, but it was also time to stop for the day.
The next day was the 31st, and I installed the chain, the brake calipers, and then hooked up the cables. The chain line was a bit wonky, but I was already knew that I had to do something with the chainring location. It was time for a 2km shake-down ride. It was very short, just long enough to confirm that I needed to do some tweaking of the handlebar placement and to confirm that the wonky chainring made things a bit stiff, not just pedaling but also shifting. It was the last day of the 2013, and I had a new bike. One that needed a bit of work, but a new bike nonetheless.
My daughter's comment: "It looks like a REAL bike!" Thanks, Sweetie. That was kind of the point.
Bringing the bike home, it was about a week before I was able to do any work on it. In the meantime I had realized my error in installing the chainring - I should have removed the chainguard and installed the chainring on the outside of the spider. Doh! Taking the cranks off, removing my make-do spacers, and moving the chainring to the correct location and the chainline was perfect. I picked up a small package of rubber gromets (for kitchen faucets) from Walmart, and I used those as spacers to move the rear fender closer to the tire. I also cut a small piece of aluminum and used it as an extension to move the front fender closer to the tire, and I spent the time to bend the fender struts to run cleanly around the disc brake calipers.
I also finally moved the rack from my other bike over to the new bike:
When I build planned the rear dropout inserts, I put in two mounting holes, one for fenders and one for a rack. I had done a lot of math when I did that, mounting the rack as far forwards as I could and still have adequate heel clearance to my panniers, but until this point I hadn't confirmed that I had done everything correctly. I always had a back-up plan, moving the rack mount further back to the same point as the fenders, but that's the arrangement that I have today on my older bike, and it's sometimes a pain. What a relief when I installed it, put on the panniers, clipped in one of my cycling shoes, and confirmed that everything worked! I also installed lights, a blinky rear light on the seatpost and a high-power LED front light on the auxiliary bar. I ran the wires for the front light back to the rack and put the battery mount there. I also moved the mounting point for my older front light to the handlebar so that if I run out of battery for the main light I had a backup, and installed a quick release mount for my ForeRunner 305 onto the auxilary bar. I adjusted the spacers to move the handlebar around slightly, and I took it out for a longer shake-down ride. Awesome.
From there, I rode it to work three times the next week, and on the fourth day (Friday) I hit a patch of black ice, and you know the rest of the story.
Two weeks ago, the replacement Spyre brakes came in, so I took the bike in to have those installed and to have Ed and his crew give it a once-over. In Ed's words, "You did a good job."
Part 5 will be a set of beauty shots.
Monday, April 07, 2014
This isn't Part 4 either, but this didn't really fit with the tone of the previous blog post, so here it goes.
It'll be a while yet before I can get back to commuting via cycle, but when I do, safety is (as always) a priority, and one of the highest priorities is in letting drivers see you. I've been contemplating Revolights for a while now (ever since they originally launched on KickStarter) and they definitely look cool and solve the side visibility issue. However at the same time they are supposed to be somewhat fiddly to install, are somewhat expensive, and some people have found keeping them aligned once installed a little bit of a pain. In addition, while they definitely work well for in-close front lighting, many people find they still need a separate brighter front light see things further away. As a result, I've never been able to convince myself that this is what I want to use.
I use a bright 4-LED headlight up front, but I've been struggling to figure out what to use on the rear. I've got a red LED blinky right now, but never felt that it was enough nor that it worked well for side visibility. The Revolights guys came up with something new, however that I think fits the bill pretty well: a system that mounts two red LED light pipes to the rear fender. It also incorporates a wheel speed sensor and adjusts the light brightness (or blink frequency) when you are braking:
I've kicked in on this one, and I hope they meet their funding goals.
If they don't, however, there's another KickStarter project that I'm watching:
In particular, I'm really interested in the Halo X, a double belt that goes over the shoulders and creates an illuminated X on your back. In fact, even if the Revolights Arc fender light gets funded I may kick in on this one too.
Of course, if you start browsing Kickstarter you will find all sorts of weird and wonderful projects. There is a lot of crud out there (Sturgen's Law definitely applies) but there are three bike-related projects that I found kind of interesting:
A bicycle multi-tool alternative:
A compact handlebar bell that doesn't look horrible:
And finally a place to hang (display?) your pride and joy:
Monday, April 07, 2014
It's sure been a while since I've updated this blog. I still have to do an update on the 4th part of my New Bike saga, the rest of the build-up. I'm working on that, and with any luck I might even get it up before Bruce gets his build-up blog posting done. However I've not really felt like doing so for a big reason: I'm injured and likely won't be able to get back on the bike for several more months.
January 24 I was cycling to work, on my new bike. It was a gorgeous sunny January morning, and the roads were dry and clear. Or at least that's what I thought. There is one corner on my route that is in a little bit of a hollow that collects fog and moisture, and overnight a small layer of black ice formed. I hit that ice while cornering (my GPS says I was doing 28km/h just before the corner) and was leaning into the turn. Once I hit the ice I was no longer turning but I was still leaning, so down I went. Hard. I fell on my right side, and my right hip took the brunt of the hit, but I also had my right arm out to slow my fall and it got violently jerked up.
Luckily no-one else was on the road with me, but my first instinct once I was down was get back up, grab the bike and get it off to the side. I was winded, but thought I would take a breather and then carry on. However when I reached down to grab the bike my right shoulder didn't feel right. I gritted through the pain, but quickly got the bike off the road. A couple drivers slowed down and asked if I was OK, to which I said yes, that I would just call my wife. I poked my right shoulder and I could tell that the bone was not where it was supposed to be and realized I had a dislocated shoulder. I pulled out my cell phone, called my wife (she was dropping the kids off at school) and waited. While I was waiting a couple other people asked if I needed help (including one guy walking his dog in the park across the way). I said that I was fine, and that my wife was on her way, and thank-you. She picked me up and took me straight to the ER. 95 minutes in and out at the ER (including x-rays before and after reducing the dislocation, Toradol and Tetanus shots, and clean-up and bandaging of the road rash on my knee) and I was on my way home with my arm in a sling, a massive purple bruise on my right hip, and a silver-dollar-sized chunk of missing skin on my right knee.
Since then I've been going to Physiotherapy once a week, and it looked like things were going well. However after six weeks, things gradually got worse - things that were easy to do before now caused pain and I started getting lots of pops and clicks in the joint, and I was no longer able to sleep through the night, waking up in agony from the pain. I've now got a referral to see Dr. Uncle Jack (a Sports Med specialist) at the end of May, and I'm on prescription painkillers to help me make it through the day and so that I can get sleep. The painkillers are working great, by the way. Jack is probably going to be sending me for an MR Arthrogram to confirm what's up with the joint, but at this point it looks like I've got a tear in my Supraspinatus tendon and a second tear in the Labrum. If that's what it is, that means surgery, which means it'll be several months before I'm back to normal.
That means I'm not able to cycle (I can't support myself, nor do I have the strength to turn the front wheel) nor can I run (five strides and the jostling is like someone's driving a skewer into the joint). A couple times the last couple weeks the pain has been too much and I've not been able to even go for a walk.
That means its back to the stationary bike, back where I started almost five years go. My son and I got the recumbent bike back into the family room and set it up next to my wife's bike (on the trainer) so now he and I will be getting up 4-5x a week to spend some time together on the bikes while watching documentaries on the TV. He's grown four inches since Christmas (slimming down quite a bit in the process) and his muscles and ligaments haven't quite caught up to his bones, and we feel like some regular exercise and stretching will help. and I need to do something. Since the accident I've gained some weight; not too much, but it is noticeable. I've got the gain under control but I want to push the needle back the other way, and we figure that having two of us motivating each other will help us both.
So what else is going on? Lots. We are in the process of planning a major rennovation at our summer (island) house. We are planning our next trip to Scotland (the entirety of August) because my son's band is playing at the World Pipe Band championships again this year. The kids are, as always, busy. My older daughter now has her pipes, and the younger daughter is almost onto her snare drum. It's never quiet, but that is how it should be!
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