Last weekend, it was hot, very hot. As it does every year, summer is slamming its toxic wall of incalescence into the population like Castle Bravo into Bikini. I had a ten mile bicycle ride planned out – from the DART station at Araphaho north along the Central Trail and looping through the Spring Creek Natural Area – including the new little extension that runs up under the towering vertiginous George Bush Turnpike interchange… then back. Ten miles isn’t very far, but my bike is heavy and inefficient and its motor is old and worn out – so it was enough, especially in this heat.
My good intentions were to get up at dawn and go in the relative cool of the dewy morning – good intentions… but we know where the road that is paved with those leads to. I did not actually get on the road until the sun was directly overhead. It wasn’t too bad, though – I carried plenty of iced water and the Spring Creek part of the trail is shaded by the thick forest. I took my Kindle and stopped a few times to read a short story at any particularly tempting shaded bench I came across.
The only problem I had was that the bolts on my bicycle rack worked themselves loose while I was riding. I noticed one side coming off and stopped to fix what I could – and then later the other came loose. I was able to keep going after some repairs, but the rack was useless.
When I arrived at home I was able to scrounge up replacements for the bolts that I lost and reassembled everything. But I knew this would happen again. No matter how hard I torque down those little aluminum bolts the constant shaking and jarring of my halting progress across uneven concrete would make them back their way out of their proper, tight position. So I sat down facing the search engines and decided to learn what I could do to stop this from reoccurring.
I entered the world of the threadlocker. There are many brands and many types… but it didn’t take long to limit everything down to one key identifier and two types – Red and Blue.
Both colors will keep your bolts under your thumb, but the red, the high strength, has to be heated to five hundred degrees to give up its grip. The blue, however, is removable with “ordinary hand tools.” So blue it was.
A trip to an automotive parts store and a tiny tube of blue threadlocker was at hand. I took the rack off, and carefully reinstalled it, squirting a little blue stuff onto each bolt as I threaded it back home.
So now, is it possible that that rack will go flying off into oblivion when I am tooling along in the middle of nowhere sometime casting my absolutely necessary survival gear into some bottomless pit? Maybe.
But I’ve done what I can.