True . . . True . . .So one thing I forgot to mention about yesterday's ride was that when we headed back from the half way point, I heard a "tink, tink, tink" in my front wheel . . . not a good sound. I looked down and a spoke had come loose. I had noticed that the wheel was coming out of "true" throughout the ride. By the half way point, it was pretty pronouced. (CRAP!) I stopped, reached down and thankfully the spoke had not broken. I popped the spoke back into the hub and hand tightened the "nipple". When we stopped again on the way back, I again tightened the nipple and was able to make it all the way back to our cars without incident. The wheel was pretty messed up however. I was bummed that my little multi-tool did not have any spoke wrenches on it.
So after cleaning up and heading out for the day, Teri and I stopped at Performance Bike in Tacoma (BTW, I love Performance bike, but the Tacoma store has HORRIBLE HORRIBLE customer service. I've never once been asked if I needed help in the dozen or so times I've been in there. By contrast, the Bellevue store is AWESOME! Worth the 30 mile drive even!) and I picked up a set of spoke wrenches. We then headed over to REI, where I purchased a Crank Brothers Multi 17 Multi tool and a bicycle maintenance book as well as a host of other products that I couldn't live without. (I LOVE LOVE LOVE REI!)
This morning, I headed out to the garage to see how badly out of true my wheel was . . . oof . . . it was ugly. So using the concepts I learned in the The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair: For Road and Mountain Bikes I began to true my wheel. Now I don't have a truing stand, I was just using the brake calipers as a guide. After about 1/2 hour, A) all my spokes were tight again and B) the wheel was about 99% "True" . . . I still have one tiny, tiny wobble in it . . . but it's WAY better than it was yesterday. And the bike is rideable again. All good things.
I've decided that to be doing any serious biking at all, I'm going to need a bike maintenance stand, a full compliment of tools, and likely a truing stand. The one thing I heard when I was buying my bike is that since I'm such a big guy, I'm going to give my wheels a lot of abuse. Well I've got about 84 miles on my bike now and I can see that this will be a fact of life. So the couple hundred investment into a good set of tools will save me in the long run by not having to take my bike in for costly repairs and truing of the wheels.