I learned about cycling from that... (long post)

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Beas, Feb 21, 2004.

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  1. Beas

    Beas Guest

    Now that the days are getting longer (and slightly warmer) I've been itching to get out on my road
    bike. Today was it! A little windy, but warm (68) and clear. As usual, I was in a hurry, trying to
    cram a short ride into a busy afternoon.

    Normally my pre-ride bike inspection is rather cursory (are the wheels on? OK, let's go), but today
    I set a record. Somehow I noticed both tires were low on air and pumped them up. I also noticed the
    rear wheel did not spin easily, so I fiddled with the brake positioning. This seemed to help, and I
    thought no more of it. Stretching quickly, I threw my leg over the top tube, clipped (rather
    awkwardly) into my pedals, and rode off.

    I have a seat pack, which usually holds my tools, but did not bother to check it before leaving
    (mistake). I also left my wallet and identification, keys and cell phone at home (bigger mistake).
    After all, it was just going to be a half-hour ride around my neighborhood, and I couldn't possibly
    need that stuff.

    It wasn't long before I was into the groove and decided to make a "slight detour" out of my
    neighborhood. I was cycling into heavier traffic the further I rode, eventually turning onto a five-
    lane major thoroughfare.

    I confidently took my place in the right lane, demonstrating correct vehicular riding. I stopped at
    several traffic lights. Trying to be a good (and thoughtful) vehicle operator, I was accelerating
    quickly from the lights.

    About halfway through my ride I was stopped again. When the light turned green I really stood on the
    right pedal. About halfway through the powerstroke I heard a distinct "ping!" and my rear wheel
    became somewhat mushy. Crap! I'd broken a spoke! (At least I hoped it was only a spoke.)

    Pulling over to the sidewalk, I quickly found the loose spoke. No problem, I thought. I'll just get
    out my trusty spoke wrench and true the wheel enough to ride home. I had done this some years ago
    (on the same bike) while riding in the countryside. Piece of cake, right?

    Opening the seat pack, I discovered - DOH! - NO TOOLS! Double crap! I was not totally without luck,
    however, as there was a LBS within half-a-mile further along the five-lane.

    However, time was becoming of the essence. In half an hour I was scheduled to pick up my daughter at
    a birthday party. At this point I wavered between riding (er, limping) home, hoping the wheel would
    hold up, or riding on to the LBS for help.

    I decided to try the LBS.

    Fearing the worst from my rear wheel, I rode (s-l-o-w-l-y) on the sidewalk instead of the busy
    street. I met a couple of pedestrians. They ignored me (probably because so many idiots in this town
    cycle on the sidewalks, yours truly included as of today).

    As I neared the LBS, I had another revelation -- I had no money to pay for a repair! I had no change
    to make a phone call! Mulling it over, I decided to beg for loan of a spoke wrench and do the job
    myself (which, I told myself, I could have done quite handily with my missing spoke wrench).

    Parking my bike near the front door, I entered the LBS. Every employee was engaged with a customer!
    There was a nice woman about my age trying out some clipless pedals on a bike mounted to a
    stationary trainer. (It was apparently her first attempt).

    Another (younger) man and his wife were discussing whether they should replace the wheels on a bike
    he was selling. Another older guy had brought in his department store "suspension" bike for a
    repair quote (and wanted some info on upgrading his components!) Time was really running out, but I
    decided to wait.

    When my turn came, one of the mechanics asked what I needed. I hastily explained my problem and
    asked to borrow a spoke wrench. He suggested I bring in the bike and he could replace the spoke and
    true the wheel. Then I had to explain why I had no money to pay him for the job.

    He offered to remove the spoke and true the wheel so that I could safely ride home - no charge. I
    was very relieved, to say the least!

    After a few comical moments of watching me remove the rear wheel, he took it to the shop area. I
    watched (standing in the showroom holding my one-wheeled wonder by the saddle) as he removed the
    spoke and quickly (within a minute) trued the wheel.

    Another comical interlude ensued as I mounted the rear wheel. I asked about the cost of a tune-up,
    promising to return for one within the week. After thanking him profusely, I quickly cycled away and
    rode at a fairly fast clip home, at least until I hit a manhole cover, jarring my frame pump loose.

    I braked as it clattered along the gutter, got off the bike and trotted back to retrieve the pump,
    leaving the bike on the roadside. Back on the bike, I shifted into a higher gear and surged onward.
    I made it home with about five minutes to spare.

    The moral of the story? Don't leave home without stuff you really might need, or hastily check your
    bike before departing, even for a "short" ride. Short rides can turn into detours on beautiful days,
    and detours can easily become misadventures!

    And don't underestimate the generosity of fellow cyclists!


  2. On Sun, 22 Feb 2004 01:34:47 GMT, "beas" <[email protected]>

    >And don't underestimate the generosity of fellow cyclists!

    There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt up in your philosophy, Horatio. (OK, I
    couldn't resist!)

    I had a *total* blowout once, about three miles from home, with no change, no phone, no tools. Two-
    inch cut in the casing, trashed tube. I walked the bike the three miles home.

    I was a half-mile from home when a red VW with a road bike on a roof rack pulled over. He got
    out, rummaged about the car, and offered me a spare tube. I was touched--but I politely refused
    it, saying that I was nearly home anyway, and a spare tube was no good with my casing ruptured
    as it was.

    Solidarity forever!


    "We must never adopt an arrogant attitude of great-power chauvinism and become conceited because of
    the victory of our revolution and certain achievements in our construction. Every nation, big or
    small, has its strong and weak points."
    - Mao Tse-Tung

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