PACKING THE TANDEM (A Melodrama in Four Acts)
Cast of Characters:
Roger – a savvy cycle technician in late middle age, afflicted with ADHD.
Kathy – his nervous but ultimately supportive wife, in her mid-fifties and occasionally prone to bouts of OCD.
A patio in Southern California
* 3 mm Allen wrench
* 4 mm Allen wrench
* 5 mm Allen wrench
8 mm Allen wrench
* CCP-4 Crank extractor (to be tightened with a crescent wrench)
* Needle nose pliers
8 inch adjustable crescent wrench
8 mm open end wrench
10 mm box wrench
* Cable clipper
Spare derailleur cable
Spare brake cable
* Drop cloth
Chain oil and grease? (for bolts and couplings)
Ziploc bags (one for the linking chain; one for other small parts)
The special coupling tool
(Starred items to be left with packing materials when the trip begins)
ACT I, SCENE 1: In which all the extra bits are removed from the frame
The scene opens with Kathy spreading a drop cloth under the bike stand. Roger impatiently begins to disassemble the bike while Kathy collects all the tiny screws, washers and other findings as Roger removes them from the bike.
The two bicker good-naturedly throughout the scene.
Roger starts the act by placing the bike into a stand using the front seat post, and cleaning the chains. He then goes through the following actions, Kathy assisting as noted:
1. Remove pedals (Kathy captures the washers).
2. Remove the racks.
3. Remove the water bottle cages and give to Kathy for wrapping.
4. Unhook and remove the tool kit.
5. Remove wheels. (Kathy removes the skewers, places plastic end pieces into wheels and sets them aside. Skewers go with the other little bits.) Use rubber mallet to position axle replacements in the drop-outs.
6. Remove the linking chain and place in Ziploc bag. Remove the cranks. Use the crescent wrench to tighten the crank extractor. Give to Kathy to wrap in bubble wrap.
ACT I, SCENE 2: In which the cables and derailleur are removed
1. Unscrew the rear brake cable (running under the top tube) by using the 8 mm wrench and crescent wrench in opposition. Remove from guides. Coil cable loosely and secure with tie or tape. Take care not to kink the cables.
2. Remove the speed sensor from front fork. (Kathy wraps and places with other small parts.)
3. Unscrew the two derailleur cables beneath the bottom tube. Remove from guides. Coil each loosely and secure with tape or ties. Note: The right cable controls the rear derailleur (for the cluster) and the left controls the front derailleur.
4. Remove the derailleur using the 5 mm Allen wrench (hold it up while unscrewing it) and then wrap it in bubble wrap. Position the derailleur in the open space between the chain stays and secure with tape.
5. Wrap the chain stay with the appropriate pieces of black wrap.
6. Remove the cable adjusters from the frame and pad them with wrap.
The act ends with pieces of the bike scattered about the room, but all smallish pieces securely captured by Kathy. Roger and Kathy exit stage right.
ACT II: In which the balance of the bike is disassembled
Roger and Kathy return to work after a short break to have lunch. Roger begins the final breakdown:
1. Remove cap from headset and hand to Kathy.
2. Remove handlebars. Remove three spacers in stem and hand to Kathy.
3. Use rubber mallet to remove the steerer out of the headset (to remove the fork). Roger swears, “THIS IS DAMN HARD!” Kathy offers encouragement and wraps the headset with bubble wrap to protect it once it’s off the bike.
4. Replace spacers on fork steerer.
5. Replace stem cap on stem.
6. Remove rear seat.
7. Release the couplers. Carefully separate the three sections of the bike frame. Place the tennis balls over the threaded ends of the open tubes.
8. Release the last portion of the frame from the bike stand.
9. Remove front seat post. Confirm position mark for rear handlebars. Remove rear handlebars from seat post.
The action continues uninterrupted with Act III. Kathy starts by opening the bike boxes and removing all the remaining packing materials, sorting them by type.
ACT III: In which all the pieces get wrapped for protection
Kathy and Roger:
1. Tuck the rear brake cable into the down tube and tape securely to avoid kinking the cable.
2. Place the appropriate piece of black shield cloth on each portion of the frame, and secure with the velcro closing, tape or ties.
3. Let the air out of the tires.
4. Assemble other gear that will be packed with the bike: helmets and panniers.
Kathy and Roger argue briefly about the placement of the foam rubber mats, and agree to try using them between each layer of the bike. The act ends with both parties in good spirits as they exit stage right for intermission.
ACT IV: In which the bike’s parts are packed into the boxes
Roger and Kathy return to the stage with sodas in hand, following a short break. Kathy is also carrying a set of instructions and photographs showing the position of the bike pieces in the boxes during a prior packing exercise.
Roger and Kathy fill the first box with the bike pieces in the following order, using the photos as a guide to placement:
1. Bicycle middle section
2. Front section, with fork and handlebars
3. Rear section of bike
4. Kathy’s seat
5. Roger’s seat
6. Kathy’s handlebars
The second box is filled with the wheels, helmets and other accessories:
1. Position the front tire in the box.
2. Add padding and other items.
3. Position rear tire with cassette facing down.
4. Wrap tools and place in box, taping to the lid to secure them.
5. Fold drop cloth and place in box with rags and other props.
Kathy and Roger add additional padding to the top of each box and test them for closure, using ties, tape or additional padding or bubble wrap where necessary to secure the parts.
Kathy tapes packets of small parts to the roof of the boxes. Just before closing the boxes, she places re-assembly instructions and photos in the box and writes their name and address on the roof of each box in black marker.
Kathy and Roger exit stage left to the hot tub to relax and enjoy a well-deserved beer!