It is always good to get out on a bike, the feeling of freedom, speed and the pure adrenaline rush of turning the cranks are always a tonic. It is even better when you are riding the bike you have constructed from the frame up. Slightly different perhaps to riding a new bike, because generally you are certain that everything is set up correctly and all you are trying to do is determine how fast it stops and how tightly you can make the turns. So perhaps it is a good thing that I rode to our local park with the kids and so stopped myself pulling any crazy tricks before I was sure of my mechanical skills. A great leveller of ability, is when you have to stop to support and encourage your 4 year old on their bike.
So what did I find out about the mechanical soundness of the bike? Well, I need to make a small adjustment to the brake and gear lever as they aren't optimal, and I haven't quite aligned the limit screw to allow a jump on to the final cog. Apart from that everything else held together fine. The wheels go muddy, I wall rolled a few steep banks and popped a few (brief) wheelies. By the end of the trip nothing was squeaking or falling off, which is a positive. I washed the wheels off, not because they were muddy, but because of the risk that some of the brown stuff came out of dogs' bottoms, and the paint stayed on. All in all a good start to a career as an amateur bike mechanic and assembler.
Next steps, well I think after the small adjustments to be done it is time to get out on some tame trails near me, and then move out to the bigger challenges after that. I also think that now might be the time to reflect on what I have learned through this process, so I suspect the next few blog posts will carry the dos and don'tsl in bike construction.