Saturday, June 11, 2016

Chapter 6 (or maybe it's an Epilogue) of the Tilmann Saga--Kind of Like Humpty Dumpty, But Not Really

Here I have this wonderful bike, and now I have to almost completely dismantle him to pack him in his case. The case is 26"X26"X10". It's about the size of a regular suitcase (maybe a little deeper). The case is designed for S&S coupler bikes with 26" wheels, but I wasn't entirely sure Tilmann would fit.

Before I could begin to put him in the case, I had take him apart. I decided to time myself, even though I knew it would not be accurate as I would be writing everything down step by step (thank God I only have to do that once!). I won't bore you with the step by step dismantling. Suffice it to say, after a rather lengthy amount of time, Tilmann looked like Humpty Dumpty in that he was in pieces all over the floor.
Poor Tilmann...

Once I had him in pieces, I began to pack him in the case. This is where it got a little challenging. After getting the rear wheel in, and the rear triangle frame piece, I tried to place the front piece and handlebar into the case. At this point, I was hoping to avoid removing the front fork. Derik and I had talked about that yesterday. When Derik says, "Oh man, I hope you don't have to remove the fork!", you really hope you don't! Well, unfortunately, the fork did have to come off. From dropouts to top cap, it is 27+ inches. The only way to get the front triangle and fork in was with the fork fitting across the case. But, that is only 26", so no go. I tried every configuration I could think of. Nope, wasn't going to fit with the fork attached. I took it all out, and set about removing the fork. Getting the fork loose was easy. Getting the steerer tube to come all the way out from the head tube was not possible. I pondered it for a moment, then realized all I had to do was cut the zip tie at the top of the down tube to give enough slack on the cables to be able to pull the steerer tube out from the head tube. Ahhh...mission accomplished!

Then I went back to fitting the, now three pieces (front triangle, fork, and handlebar), into the case. With some creative "weaving", I was able to get the fork in somewhat diagonally.
Over and under!

All that was left was the front wheel and fender. I placed them in with the appropriate padding, put the ziplock bags of small parts (pedals, skewers, etc) into the empty spaces, and closed the lid. I was really confident that it was going to close. No, no it did not. Hmmm...I readjusted the handlebars as they seemed to be the culprit (here I thought the Trekker bars would be so easy since they're pretty flat). Still not closing. I let the air out of the tire. Getting closer! I did a bit more jostling and...voila...I got it to close! I opened it up again, and stuffed bubble wrap in the empty spaces, then zipped it up. The only things I couldn't get in the case were the racks, but that's okay. They can go in the rice bag with my panniers and stuff. Total time (including writing everything down): 3 1/2 hours.

I put it on my back with the backpack straps. Yeah, kinda heavy, but doable if I had to (...which I hope I don't). I weighed it, and it came out a little under 45lbs. At least it's under the limit.
Smiling here--but I wouldn't be if I had to carry it very far!

By now it was noon, and I had worked up an appetite. I took a break for lunch before reversing all the hard work I had just done, and putting Tilmann back together again. All the king's horses, and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together, but I could put Tilmann together!

The Rebuild

I suspected putting Tilmann back together would be faster than packing him up. That's always been the case when I've packed up, then unpacked Betsy. And, it was true. Following my written directions in reverse, I managed to get Tilmann back to his glorious self. It really wasn't that difficult. I had also taken photos, so if I couldn't remember something, I just looked at the picture. It took me 2 1/4 hours to get him back in working order.

Just to make sure everything was working well, I did a test ride (because, you know, it could look good, but not be good). Yep, everything is fine! Now I want to pack up my panniers, load Tilmann up, and go for a ride to see how he handles the weight. I think I'll do that tomorrow, then pack him back in the case on Monday in preparation for Tuesday's departure. I don't feel like I need to pack and unpack again as the unpack and reassemble was pretty easy (that, and I just really don't want to!). Now, onto packing up the panniers!

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