Parts, Parts, Parts. And some tools?
Picked up a big box o' bike parts from Greenstreet yesterday. I had to reorder my crankset, because apparently there are about a million different types of crankset to bottom bracket interfaces, and mine were incompatible. Go figure.
I also just got a call from a lady at my apartment complex informing me that my Nashbar order (another big box o' parts) had come in today, so after the new crankset comes in, I should have everything I need to build this thing.
A few important things I learned yesterday:
This isnt compatible with That
If you are thinking of getting something new other than a strap on accessory, and wondering to yourself "I wonder if this compatible with that?" the answer is probably not. Sorry. Not to be pesimistic, but there are a million variations of every part ever made for a bicycle. Im not sure why each bike company feels the need to make everything different from every other company, and different from themselves year to year. Pretty much nothing is standardized, at least that I have found. Between all the different variations of width, spacing, tube diameter, threading, bolt size, and even bolt shape, it is extremely hard to interface components with other non-matching components. So the lesson is, do a lot of research (and talk to someone who knows bikes) before buying something to make sure that it will fit.
I need tools? I have a hammer, is that good enough?
One of the things that a particularly enlightened bike shop worked once told me is that the main difference between people that can build their own bikes and the people that cant is tools. You may think, like I did, that determination, elbow grease, basic mechanical know-how and a set of alan wrenches was all you needed to build a bike from the ground up. Nope, you also need some very specialized and specific tools. This was disheartening to hear at first, until I realized I could just buy the tools I needed, and instantly become one of those people that builds bikes (some experience and educated googling helps, though).
I have a full list of tools needed on the above tabbed page, "Building a Bike".