Thursday, April 14, 2011


 My favourite bike is my silver TREK 4300 mountain bike which I bought for $500.00 five or six years ago at UnitedCycle. It replaced a nice black road bike that my buddy Roy had given me.  The bike has a name - "Furry Lewis" - named for an old bluesman whose career was resurrected after an article about him appeared in "Playboy" magazine.  My friend Jerry Quesnell says he buys the magazine for the articles.  Sure!

Furry Lewis has a 16" aluminum frame with a wide handlebar mounting Shimano Rapid-Fire shifters.  Except for the handle bar, the left shifter and the rear wheel, I have replaced everything else since its purchase.  Which means I have a bike I really like and now has pretty good components.
Last year I replaced the front crankset and the one I chose has external bearings which I think are stronger than a regular bottom bracket.  Most bottom brackets are sealed and this eliminates repacking the bearings.  The rear cassette has been changed out numerous times since it wears out faster than the front chainrings.  I can't count the number of chains I've used in these last five years.

External bearings

A spill a couple of years ago necessitated a new front wheel and right shifter and never being happy with the Shimano disc brakes, they've been replaced with Avid BB7's.  I first read about Avid brakes while studying the Park Tools blue book of repair and when I saw that Avids are adjustable, I liked that option very much. There are good reasons for going for mechanical discs rather than hydraulics. A couple of years ago on one of our adventure cycling trips, we met up with a group of riders on the bi-pass around the Myra Canyon.  One of the riders had had a spill and a tree branch had torn off both the hydraulic hoses from the front of his bike leaving him with no brakes.  With mechanical discs, it is a relatively easy fix to replace a broken brake cable.  With hydraulics, you'd be screwed.

Avid mechanical disc brakes

I change my tires frequently during the riding season - studded tires in winter/spring/fall, and knobbies for the KVR and the MS Mountain Tour and slicks for commuting.  Even the pannier rack has been swapped out and I use different handlebar bags depending on my needs.  I don't even remember what seat came with this bike but I've enjoyed having a Spiderflex hornless bikeseat.
It wasn't hard to replace the front shocks and I especially like the feature of having a remote control to lock out the shocks right from the handlebar when making a long climb.  Mind you, front shocks can add a tremendous amount of weight to your rig.  But necessary for control and comfort.

My son gets a good laugh out of all the "Bling" that ends up on my bike.  What's so funny about a bell, a bike computer, front and rear lights, saddlebags, fenders, handlebar extensions, and extra bottle cage, a heart rate monitor, a handlebar bag, bar tape and a mirror?  And a pannier rack?  Once, commuting to work, he saw a cyclist heading toward him and he wondered who the old fart was riding this heavily accessorized bike?  Turns out it was his old man. Didn't even recognize him!!

This is Furry Lewis and I want to call him a friend.  If you can do that with an inanimate object.


  1. Holy Banana's, Batman! That is a lot of BLING!

  2. The Batmobile was pretty blinged out too! So was James Bond's wheels (I sometimes wish I had those knives that come out of the hubs so I could payback some of that bad automobile driving I see). Or transform into a bicycle cop, and turn on the red and blue flashing lights that the motorist failed to notice when he told me to get the F**K off the road!