Robot’s Useless Reviews – Spare Hardware

I put things together, and I take them apart. Both processes are fraught with peril. The first, because I’m not a great put-things-togetherer, and the subsequent function and safety of the thing in question is in no way guaranteed. The second because I’m not the best at keeping track of all the parts of a thing as it comes apart and enters the dark abyss of my parts bin.

Let’s play a game. I’m going to reach into the bin I have assigned to random, spare hardware, pull out a handful of its contents and try to guess what each thing belongs to. Feel free to play along at home, by procuring a similar handful from your own cycling junk drawer.

A – OK, this is disc brake mount of some sort. I don’t remember what bike it came off of, and I’m not sure where the bolts that affix it to the frame might have gone.

B – This is a star nut. Again, no bolt. I have no fork currently that would require it.

C – A master link for either a Shimano or SRAM chain. Someone would know just by looking, but I don’t. Maybe it’s engraved on one side. This will be useful. Oh, sorry. I meant to type: This will be useful?

D – Quick release tension spring. Just one. Since you don’t buy these separately from the complete quick release mechanism, I can’t imagine why I have just one or where the QR missing this one went.

E – Bottom bracket shell cable guide. Why I took it off a frame, no clue. Chances of me building up a frame that doesn’t come with a cable guide? Infinitesimally small, approaching zero, like an asymptote, like an imminent lottery win.

F – Cantilever noodle, also called a “hornswoggler” (but just at my house). I have no cantilever brake bikes anymore. Ditto V-brakes, for which this might also function. I suppose if you were really in a pinch, you could smoke weed out of this thing, or snort cocaine around a corner, but I don’t do drugs.

G – I think these bolts are probably not related. The two smaller ones might go to a Wald basket I own, or they might be part of a fender kit. The larger bolt is an M5, which means it could go anywhere.

H – Crown race. I don’t own a crown race puller, so I’m not sure where this arrived from. It’s also 1-1/8″, which means the likelihood of needing will depend on my future levels of nostalgia and/or stinginess.

I – Barrel adjuster. God bless the barrel adjuster.

J – Tension plate. That’s probably not the name for this thing. It may be the “tension plate” for that cable guide, or maybe it belongs to a cleat or maybe it’s also part of the fender kit the bolts on the right come from. I will never in a millenium of Sundays happen upon a use for that thing AND remember where it is.

Sudden death is so fun!

For context, all of these bits and pieces were in one baggy, as if they were the various equipment you needed to play a small, cycling-specific game of Mousetrap, one you bought at a yard sale or a flea market from a person with an impressive collection of VHS tapes.

How do these things come to occupy the same space? I believe it’s a combination of laziness and fantasy. At the time of their disassembly, the moment they stop being part of a whole and revert to their independent forms, I am just so relieved to finally have removed them from the works that I can’t be bothered to find a little zip-lock baggy and Sharpie, so as to sequester and label them before tossing them unceremoniously into the bin. At the same time, I retain some bizarre belief that, when the day comes that I desperately need to reunite them with one of my bicycles, I will be glad I have them and also miraculously able to find and reconfigure them into a functional something-or-other.

I might as well pop them in my mouth and swallow them, then, in the Emergency Room, ask the doctors and nurses to guess what they are from the X-ray.

The truth is I will probably never need this stuff, but the screw I just dropped will be the one that keeps me from being able to ride an otherwise sublime bicycle, the whole thing falling apart like one of those children’s toys where you press the button beneath, and the giraffe collapses into a pile of giraffe parts.


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  1. trabri says

    This is my life.

  2. gbyrne says

    Invariably, I’ll hold onto these things for years, decades even, across moves to multiple addresses, and yet always find myself absolutely requiring one a within a month of discarding it.

  3. […] Gbyrne o Schrödingerjevih rezervnih delih: Invariably, I’ll hold onto these things for years, decades even, across moves to multiple addresses, and yet always find myself absolutely requiring one a within a month of discarding it. […]

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