Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Maintenance by Attrition

Some bikes get used so much that they tend to get neglected by the mechanic of the house. The yellow commuter bike is one of those. I ride it 5 or 6 days a week, and leave it sitting in the house on the days when I ride another bike.

Occasionally, it will give me a subtle hint that it need some loving. Recently, that hint came in the form of a broken crankarm on the way to work. (In all fairness to me, though, broken crankarms are usually not a maintenance issue, although a developing crack might have come to light in the workstand if I had been paying more attention.)

Yesterday, on the way home from work, I received another little hint that I need to pay a bit more attention to the bike.

At the 6 mile mark of my 9 mile ride home, I was accelerating away from a stop sign when I heard an odd crunching sound. "Crap", I thought (or words to that effect), as I stopped pedaling and coasted for a few feet.

Keep in mind that I was coasting on a fixed gear bicycle. That is not a sign of a healthy drivetrain, by the way.

I stopped and looked behind me, only to see my chain lying like a dead snake in the middle of the road. "Stinking to high heaven," as Loudon Wainwright said.

Oddly, two links had blown apart, rather than the typical one link. Unfortunately, I had used the spare links I carry with me to repair another rider's chain, a while back, and never replaced them in my toolkit.

Crap. Or, again, words to that effect.

The chain was too short, once reassembled, to run with my gearing. So, I started walking/scootering/coasting down the hills. Unfortunately (there's that word, again), the 3 miles to my house consisted of 2,6 miles of uphill and level ground, and only 0.4 miles of coastable downhill.

I walked along, pushing the bike. I passed by 8 or 10 people as I walked, none of whom asked me if I need a hand. One guy asked if I was tired.

"What?" I said, and I'm sure my aggravation was apparent in my voice.

I then explained to him why I was walking. Then, rather than offer me a lift, or ask if he could help in any way, he just went back to loading something into his trunk.

I was only about a mile and a half from home, so I wouldn't have accepted a ride, anyway. But, still...

As I walked, I noticed my left heel was sore. Blister. Blood in my shoe, when I got home.

Crap. Or...well, you know.

Oh, well, at least I have a new chain, now. Not much else to go wrong, with a singlespeed fixie drive train, I suppose.



At 6:01 AM , Blogger nick said...

that sucks. nuff said.

At 6:05 AM , Anonymous red light green light said...

I'm sorry that you had a bad afternoon. It would have been nice if that guy would have offered you a ride, but I guess that is a sign of the times that we live in (I'm pretty sure that 40 years ago it would have been rude to NOT ask you if you needed a lift home).
If it will make you feel any better, the Tour de Fat is this Sat and I'll buy you a beer if you want to hit it....The bike Karma wil be good for everybody this Sat...Just hit the reset button Bro and remember that you are loved!

At 8:07 AM , Blogger getinlost said...

Missing link(s)

Still not driving... priceless

At 2:34 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Yeah, a bad day on the bike beats most good ones off the bike.


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