TCI Friday

I bought a set of rotors. Center lock, if you must know. 160mm. This isn’t a story about rotors.

The shop guy said, “Do you need lock rings for those?” This isn’t really a story about lockrings either.

Oh, man. That’s a tough question. I did that thing you do, calling up my most acute visual memories of my parts bin, sorting through the image there for lockrings. Is that a lockring? Well, it’s a round object. In fact, it’s a small pile of round objects. This must be the area I assigned to things that are round but aren’t cassettes, cogs or rims. Just what all the round things are that live in this area, I’m hard pressed to say, at least from memory.

I buy a pair of lockrings, because I trust myself not to have what I need more than I trust myself to be well-organized and/or equipped. When I get home, I toss the new lockrings on the counter in the area assigned to objects that need to go down the basement stairs. There they sit for three days. On the third day I remember that I meant to put rotors on my new wheels, using the lockrings that are there on the counter by the basement door.

Down the stairs we go. In my impatience to complete the task, I begin to open the new lockring packaging, but it includes zip ties, so I am temporarily stymied. I go to the toolbox to get the thing to cut the zip ties, and there, next to the snippy thing is a lockring. Here, if you can imagine, I experienced a rippling of space and time (spacetime really), that took me back to the moment in the bike shop when I was trying to envision the interior environs of my parts bin.

TCI is sponsored, in part, by Shimano North America, who themselves offer a number of different rotor and lockring options.

This is a good moment for an aside. If there were one thing I could change about myself it would be to make myself more patient, more methodical. I’d slow the F down and think a bit more before I do things. The rippling of spacetime I experienced there, staring down at the lockring next to the snippy tool, reminded me that this was a thing I want for myself.

I picked up the old lockring and put down the new one. Then I went to my parts bin and opened the drawer vaguely assigned to stuff that isn’t obviously a component. Thereupon my eyes discovered two more lockrings. Then I took out the box that has even more random nonsense in it and opened that, and there I discovered three lockrings.

I know, it seems like this is all about lockrings, but bear with me.

OK, so I bought two new lockrings when I already possessed six lockrings. What have we learned? First, that I am not very well-organized and not very aware of the things that I own. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the privilege of that. Most of the time, actually, I don’t need any bike parts, because I have bike parts. But am I really so clueless that I didn’t know I owned six lockrings already?

The answer is yes and no, and this where the story stops being about lockrings and starts being about what we do with the stuff we have. As it turns out, a big reason I don’t know what I have anymore is that I have given away a lot of stuff. This is not altruism. This is an attempt to reclaim my life from the stuff that I was spending too much time collecting and sorting. I have become a reverse hoarder.

As I stood in the bike shop wondering if I need lockrings or not, I couldn’t remember whether I’d given away some wheels and if so, what lockrings had gone on those. Did I give away cassette lockrings or rotor ones? Both?

I used two rotor lockrings from my stash and preserved the packaging of the two new ones I’d bought which I put in my car to return to the bike shop when I’m there next, fully intending to request no refund, but rather to just give them back, maybe even to leave them surreptitiously on the counter and walk away. When I think about it, you should never have to buy lockrings. You should just get them, so I’ll try to live in the solution to that problem, rather than making it worse.

For some reason now, this week’s TCI Friday asks whether you’re a giver or a taker of bike parts? A hoarder or a purger? What is the biggest, best, nicest bike thing you’ve given away? Finally, what do you have that you forgot you have? Oh, and how many lockrings would you say you own, without looking?

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  1. tcfrog says

    I try to be neither a hoarder nor a purger, simply maintaining the level of parts needed to have my bikes function as designed. What this really means is that I don’t trust my life to my mechanical skills, and so all bike repairs and tunings are done at various LBS. I think this is the best way I can keep both myself and local bike shops alive.
    Regarding the lockring question, I have no idea what they are used for, so assuming there is one per bike, I own 6.

  2. Jeff vdD says

    More hoarder than purger, by a little, but with a desire to flip that. Also, I have a number of small plastic bins purchased for the purpose of better organizing the parts that I have. I can kill two birds with one stone by doing a purge-and-organize (“purganize?”) at the same time.

    Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.

    Also, I’ve got the same exact counter space that you have. Okay, mine is more necessary, as to get to my basement, I have to go downstairs to our first floor (we live on the second and third), outside, and down into the basement via an exterior bulkhead door.

  3. alanm9 says

    For me, hard to say. We downsized to a condo several years ago and I gave away most of my tools, then eventually regretted it. I’ve been slowly accumulating tools and parts since, but they sit haphazardly in two workbench drawers.

    The other day while cussing over a squealing rotor I was sure I had a lockring tool. Pawed through the drawers 3 times. Nope. So, I guess I’m a rising hoarder.

    Lockrings? 2 or 3 extra, but please don’t ask for the exact answer.

  4. trabri says

    I have 2 spare lockrings but don’t ask which bin, bag, container, box or old coffee cup they are in.

  5. schlem says

    The subtext here is that 6-bolt is superior to centerlock. Having cast that stone across the pond, I’m confident I have at least 4 lockrings not spun onto a hub. I’ve given away a beloved Surly fixie, more stems than I can count (and I STILL have a boxful to donate), and once, in the fog of a contentious divorce, a pair of 1953 Series I Land Rovers that I fully intended to combine into one truck. THAT was oddly liberating. Still, in the wake of supply-chain smiley games, and the abandonment of 29+, I have a tall shelf full of tires, tubes, and all the drivetrain bits I might need for the next several years. I see it more as a cyclic expansion and collapse, like arctic lemmings’ boom and bust population. Or dotcom fortunes. Or housing prices. I could go on, but, you see, it’s a natural rhythm.

  6. TominAlbany says

    I have precious little. I let the bike shop store my spare parts. I also do very little of what I’d call ‘hard-core’ maintenance. I don’t have a desire to buy all of the tools and parts and then do it wrong. I’m willing to pay more for someone to possibly* do it right.

    So, I’m neither a hoarder nor a purger. I’m not an accumulator. Or at least I try not to be. Sure I’ve got a few parts in the basement but, I have no idea what they are really.

    * I’ve had quite a few things done incorrectly at my LBSs. If I can’t fix it with a simple adjustment, I take the bike back and they usually fix it immediately and apologize for the issue.

    Biggest, best bike thing I’ve ever given away? Hmmm. I wear stuff out so, there’s usually not much to give away. I guess it would be donating my first-ever-self-purchased-bike to the bike rescue. And it’s the biggest nicest because I still love that bike.

  7. cumberland says

    I have an inane amount of stuff in the basement ranging from 5 speed cassettes to 11 speed Box Components 1st gen shifter, derailleur, 46t cassette. A coveted USPS box full of Kool Stop black canti pads that will go to the grave with me if there are any left over. I arranged a couple of bike swaps just to unload some of this stuff piling up in the basement, but it seems interest in that sort of thing has waned as of late. There are bike parts down there that haven’t seen the light of day for easily 10 years. But they’re shiny, my precious.

  8. Barry Johnson says

    I have given away so much and forgotten about said gives that I go to build and I end up buying again. I have no issues with that as it keeps the local bike collective stocked with my well maintained cast offs. Circle of life.

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