Saturday, December 19, 2015

Killed Two bikes in One Week

On a brighter day...

People always ask me when I am going to purchase a "gravel bike."  My usual reply is that I find it easy enough to destroy bicycles and bike parts without intentionally riding them for hours and hours on bike eating roads.  Love to have a cyclocross bike just as a fast commuter that could be fitted with studded tires but I doubt I'd ever truly use it for gravel.  Besides, limestone dust probably is not the best for my lungs.

So the two bikes we use that have the most miles on them took huge proverbial dumps this week.  The type of ride ending, season ending break downs that a holiday like Christmas can cause.  The last think we need to do right before the holiday is dump more cashola into bicycles.

Tuesday the Heavy Commuter, the 2011 Trek Soho, was the first to die.  Purchased brand new in February, it languished in the Warehouse for 4 years, I put 4550 miles on the beast.  Overbuilt and geared poorly but weatherproof with its internal gearing and drum brakes it has nearly half of the miles I have amassed for 2015.  On this day the crank was ruined.  My bad most likely.  I did 2 pedal swaps about 100 miles ago.  Today as I was pulling off the sidewalk to hit the "walk" button on the traffic control pole the rear wheel bogged down in the wet grass.  remember, it rained 4" over the weekend.  Add more power to the pedal stroke.  THUNK!!  Foot goes to the ground and bike stops.  A quickly glance down shows the pedal on the grass and a shiny hole where it should be.  Stripped threads.  Of course the right side crank not the cheap left side crank.  It never felt loose and the last pedal change was way over 1000 miles ago.  8 miles from home.  I elect to push the bastard across the street and coast underneath the overpass, 73rd/Buffalo Rd by Wal Mart and assess the situation.

Definitely stripped.  Unpedalable with my huge boots.  The pedal will go back in but there is quite a bit of resistance.  8 mile walk or phone call or finish ruining the crank.  I chose the latter.  The crank is ruined anyway.  I tried to line the pedal up the straightest way possible but it went in crooked.  get it tight because the climb up Ingersoll will be a bitch and torque will be required.

Made it home without further incidence.  Explored the flooded Walnut Creek Trail.  It was BAD.  Retrieved a growler and had it filled at Court Avenue Brew Pub.  Standard house brand crank ruined.  Was thinking about something with a smaller ring anyway.  Guess that will happen.  Might as well have them look at the BB since I have forded a few flooded trails this year. Honestly, I had been considering adding a front rack on this bike and making it the dedicated cargo bike especially once Hy Vee opens up downtown.  I need something faster.  Tomorrow I will ride a different bike.

Dried mud from Tuesday.  I took it for a spin to the barbershop and butcher this morning despite the crooked pedal.

Mary's commuter is an experiment in frugality and single-speed technology.  The worst thing about winter is the destruction snow and ice and salt and sand do to bicycles.  Chains, cables, derailleurs and brakes take a huge beating during this season.  So if she rode a single-speed it goes to reason that there would be less stuff to be destroyed.  Last winter I merely replaced the chain with a rustproof chain and 2 spokes in May after the first 5000 miles were ridden.  Cheap and easy.  Her bike easily has 5000 more miles on it for a total of 10K since early September 2014.

Friday was the Windsor's day to die.  Mary beat me out of the house and on to the road.  I would catch up.  Today she must have felt better because it took over 9 miles to catch her instead of the 3 from the day before.  The headwind finally calmed down, too, it had been a brutal week in the mornings.  But when I finally did reach her she was texting me.  "Horrible grinding sound and the bike barely moves."  It happened after she hit the tracks near 515 Brewery.

I shook the crank to see if it was the BB.  Solid, no movement.  The rear wheel spun but when ridden it sounded horrid.  Time to face the facts.  "You need to call someone to pick you up and take you to work.  Walk the bike back to 515 and chain it up.  Give me the good lights and battery in  case of theft.  I'll snag the car after work and pick you and the bike up."  Really not more we could do.  It was cold, the coldest day of the season and we had been outside for nearly an hour.

Mary and the bike got home.  I plan just to purchase a new wheel for the bike and perhaps have someone repack the old wheel.  10,000 miles of rain and snow and flooded trails.  We have had Shimano freehubs freeze up on us before, freewheeling in both directions.  A single-speed coaster brake hub with 10K probably needs grease, too.  Already had the replacement bike in my mind before she called for the airstrike.  The Bianchi will be used until the wheel is replaced/repaired.  Commuting all year is tough on riders and bicycles.

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