somewhat daily mutterings

/Cycling It Only Gets Worse

Due to the squonking coming from my bottom bracket the morning of my abortive "worst commute ever" I took my beloved Serotta commuting bike to the shop to get the bottom bracket replaced, ASAP. Well, they couldn't really do it ASAP since they didn't have the appropriate BB on hand. So I left with my bike with the understanding that I'd try to find one elsewhere, then bring the bike back for the install.

As I loaded my bike back onto the rear rack on my car, a thought entered my stupid head, "wow, what if someone rear-ended me while my bike was on here -- that would suck." As I was soon to find out, yes, it does suck.

That's right, someone rear-ended me on the road right in front of the bike shop. I was sitting in the "straight" lane. Everyone was stopped at the light, including my attacker. However, she apparently misread the green left turn light as a general green light and stepped on her gas. Her forward progress was hindered only by my Serotta's right crankarm and my car's rear bumper.

After the thump, I sat there for a second shaking my head. I really couldn't believe I'd just been rear-ended at a stop light with my bike on the back of the car, not to mention that I'd just thought how much it would suck to have it happen. What were the chances? I hopped out of the car to look at the damage, which wasn't obvious at first. Then, with closer inspection I realized the right crankarm was bent in so far that it couldn't clear the chainstay. The left crankarm had left a crankarm-shaped impression in my bumper. Her license plate had a pedal-shaped impression in it. We did the usual exchange of info, and parted ways. All I could do was wonder what I'd done lately to piss off the cycling gods.

Won't be riding this for a while

I took the bike back to the shop today to get the repair estimate. It's a total of about $250 or so. I wonder what the estimate will be to fix my car's bumper. Oddly, I don't really care all that much about that: my commuting bike is out of commission until at least Wednesday, and so I have to ride one of my other bikes (which I'm fortunate to have), but with a stinking backpack full of my stuff, rather than in a nice rack-mounted commuting pannier.

Oh yeah, we're supposed to get lots of rain next week, too.

Posted: Sun Apr 24 21:03:34 -0700 2005

/Cycling Worst (Aborted) Commute Ever

Wednesday's bike commuting effort was a mess. The morning was very cold and clammy, and I even got rained on a bit. Also, every time I would stand to pedal, I'd hear a "whonk!" from somewhere below and behind that sounded like an angry goose. No, it wasn't the previous night's Mexican -- I finally determined that my bottom bracket must be turning into mush.

To add to my excitement about bike commuting on this particular day, there was a chance of rain in the afternoon, for my commute home. Of course, when I bike commute "a chance of rain" means a storm is 100% guaranteed. The guarantee held quite well, and I left work on my bike in a hard 45-degree drizzle.

The other guarantee that I can rely on, when commuting in the rain, is that I'll get a flat. Again, (dis)satisfaction was provided in the form of a flat within 300 yards of leaving my building! I almost threw in the towel at that point, but decided to perservere.

Fixing a flat on my fully-loaded commuting bike is a pain. I have fenders, so I have to flip the bike. To flip the bike, I have to remove my commuting pannier, my water bottle(s), my lighting system, etc. Fixing a flat on a wet commuting bike is even more of a pain, because my hands always end up covered in black rubber-dust that makes it look as though I just worked a seam of coal bare-handed.

Anyway, the bike is flipped, I've removed the blessed shard of glass from the tire, and am preparing to put a new tube in. My habit is to pump just a bit of air into a fresh tube to make it a bit easier to handle. So, I grab my frame pump, attach it lightly to the valve, and give it a couple of short bursts. Nothing happens. Thinking there wasn't a good seal, I go to lock the pump head to the valve, and the freaking lever pops off and falls to the ground, along with some random pump head contents. My pump is completely shot. Broken. Kaput. How the hell did this happen?

So here I am with coal-miner's hands, a half-installed tube and no way to pump up the works. There was nothing to do but put the tube in, reassemble my bike, and push the crippled bike back to my building. There, I washed my hands to a dull gray, and headed back out into the rain to push the bike to the bus station. Of course, all this walking around in bike cleats has my plantar fasciitis, which had mostly subsided, coming back with a vengeance.

Wonderful.

Posted: Fri Apr 22 11:44:57 -0700 2005

/Cycling Pimp My Ride

The bearings of the pulleys on my Colnago's rear derailleur were torched. I noticed this last year when I was cleaning them before installing the derailleur on the bike (the derailleur was part of a drivetrain donation from my boss). I put them back on anyway and rode the bike a good 500 miles with them installed, but it's always bugged me to know that the bearings were shot.

So today, I finally got around to replacing the original pulleys with some trick aluminum ones from Performance. They went on pretty easy (you have to use one washer per side to match the original Dura-Ace pulley width, BTW), and they look pimpin'. Well, to me anyway.

Dat shit is tight!

And, yeah, my drivetrain stays about that clean all the time.

Posted: Fri Apr 15 15:48:10 -0700 2005

/Cycling First Long(er) Ride of 2005

My riding buddy Brian and I did our "usual" 40-mile ride today - our "South Denver Loop". This ride encompasses the Platte River Trail, the Cherry Creek Trail and the Highline Canal Trail, with the occasional neighborhood street riding. Other than a few 20-milers, which hardly count, this is my first big ride of the season.

I sucked.

We always stop at REI at about the halfway point and treat ourselves to breakfast sandwiches at the Starbucks. The breakfast sandwiches have a decent balance of carbs, fat, and protein (a little more than decent on the fat). Well today, they couldn't make breakfast sandwiches, so I got a "toffee bar". Big mistake. This thing must have been 90% sugar. On top of that, I had hot chocolate, which only added to the sugar content.

Brian and I sat there for quite a while (we're always lazier at the beginning of the season), which I suppose was long enough for my blood sugar to peak, and then start a downhill trend. So, within a few miles of pedaling away from REI, I was a mound of weak, quivering flesh, and was having some pretty enthralling food fantasies. We really, really, had to stop at a gas station so I could get some peanuts and a PowerBar. Once refueled, I was basically fine. However, a southerly headwind beat me down further as I rode home. I was pretty dead on arrival. Yippee, the TOSRV is only four weeks away, and I'm raring to go (not)!

On an almost related note, I've had a relapse of the plantar fasciitis that plagued me for over a year when we first moved to Denver. Back then, it was pretty obvious what brought it on (running around barefoot in the grass, playing soccer with my 4-year-old nephew). This time, it just up and started hurting one day: I got up from playing XBox on the couch and my heel hurt. I can't for the life of me figure out what brought it on. Anyway, this was about three weeks ago, and it's still going strong. Luckily cycling doesn't hurt it (though it probably doesn't help it either).

Posted: Sun Apr 03 15:11:07 -0700 2005

Thanks for visiting! Send comments to Mike Thomas.

Site 
Meter