Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Easier Money

Well, the fed lowered the rate a quarter point, and the Dow made a pretty good gain, as did the other indices. While lowering the rate, the Fed strongly hinted that there are no future rate cuts in store. So what are they going to do if more indicators turn south and the street starts clamoring for more rate cuts? What happens if inflation really starts to come on and the Fed feels a strong need to raise interest rates to put the clamp on that?

OPEC also made a statement disavowing responsibility for the current oil prices. They blame the current high prices on turmoil and threats of more to come in the Middle East as well as speculative playing by market makers. I agree with them, and to those two I would add the third fact that some people are wising up to the fact that supplies are running out. OPEC also made the unsurprising move of promising to ramp up production. Let's add this all up - record high prices, demand outstripping supply and a need to downplay any incentive to find other energy sources? Check, check and check.

When the whole thing turns to crap I can at least take solace that my wrenching skills are all there. The mountain bike is all set to go. I had to replace the chain and back wheel, both were too far gone to salvage. The rest of everything else works well enough to get me through the time being, maybe longer. The headset and fork that were waiting for this project went together beautifully. Installing headsets is really fun. A couple of years ago I made a very elegant headset cup installer out of a piece of 5/8" all thread, some nuts and some washers. Place the cups in the frame, put the all thread through the cups and head tube and thread her into place. The washers, which are padded with electrical tape, sit perfectly in the cups. It's a perfect $3.46 solution to a $100 problem, which I've now put to good use three times. Seating the fork crown race is another fun one. It's wicked easy as long as you have a good tube to sit down on the race and push the race down gently while you hammer the top of the tube. Next time you are searching around for such a tube, think pvc pipe or what I used yesterday, a vacuum cleaner hose extension. It's like it was made for it. Also, lubing the steerer tube is a good idea.

The only thing that I'm really not comfortable with is taking hubs apart, mostly because my first few attempts at it were with older Shimano hubs with loose ball bearings. Yikes what a nightmare that is. Cartridge bearings seem like they are pretty easy to deal with, so maybe I'll jump back in some time. But it's nice to know that I can take a bike 100% from loose components and have everything working perfectly in a couple of hours. I was pretty sketched out the first time I raced on a wheel I'd built, but after doing the first one and rebuilding another, it's really no sweat.

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