Zen And The Art Of Bicycle Maintenance

Tomorrow I’m going to give the annual Fargo Street Hill Climb a try for the first time. I’ve known about it since the late ’80s when it was called the Fargo Street Turkey Shoot, but I never felt compelled to participate in the bike ride up one of the steepest streets in Los Angeles until earlier this week. It’s a short ride… only about 600 feet or so. But with its 30% grade (some list it as a 33% grade), Fargo rises more than 150 feet in that short distance. If that doesn’t sound like much, just keep in mind that on most highways it only takes a 7% grade to see those “Use Lowest Gear” or “Watch Downhill Speed” signs on the side of the road. Fargo is more than four times steeper.

So earlier today I unshackled the mountain bike from its place of hibernation in the garage and set to work getting her in shape — not strictly for Fargo, but also for my annual “10 Rides In 30 Days” in the Verdugos, which typically has begun at the end of the last couple of Marches. During the course of the rejuvenation, I replaced the chain, tensioned various cablees and bolts, and  finally swapped out the bike’s original forks for a set I bought from my friend Billy Savage last year.

Then I test drove her up and down the street several times just to make sure she held together. She did.