Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Gravity of Not Paying Attention

repair stand
We all do our own stunts.  One time on The Ragbrai I watched Colin Lamb go off the pavement at speed on a crowded downhill into the ditch only to emerge back on the road a few seconds later.  It was as if I was watching Bill Johnson disappear into the woods and re-emerge back on his skis full speed and win the race.  I've also seen Colin miss a turn near the marina on the Neal Smith Trail and get nailed in the back by his bike mid-air and land on his face,  Not pretty but no injuries or broken bike.
And then there was Steve Fuller, perhaps the greatest Iowa cyclist since Bob Breedlove.  A month or so before his big race he rides right into a concrete medium on 42nd street and destroys a wheel.  Happens to the best of us.

I've done this myself on occasion.  Drifted on and fought my way back on or eject myself from the bike to save myself from certain doom.  I broke my clavicle when I went off the road and onto a sidewalk.  Today was the same.

Going down the sidepath along 128th in Clive I picked up a lot of speed as I was heading to the Greenbelt trail.  I could see the trail and knew that in a few microseconds I would be squeezing the brake levers toward the bike and scrubbing speed and momentum to make a 90 degree right turn at an intersection almost totally blind on my left.

Point of Impact
But then the ride felt rough,  I was on the grass and headed toward an intersecting side walk that was several inches above the surface I was now riding on,  No time to react!

There was a very loud high pitch noise followed by roughness and then I stopped still upright.  I thought that the noise might have been my frame breaking.  Looking down it was apparent that the front tire exploded.  Good thing I packed tire repair kit and a pump.  I walked the bike to the Greenbelt and leaned it against the sign and began repairs.

Front flat tire.  Wheel a lttle out of true.  rear tire still good.  Frame and fork undamaged.  Panniers busted.  Right shoulder sore.  I torqued muscles Monday morning when i threw on a backpack.  Today it was better but the impact of the incident did not do it any favor.  I had levers, a new tube, a pump and a bungee cord.  Cancel planned ride to Cumming and text Mary.  I'll wait for her here since she will be riding by about as soon as I was done with repairs.

I discovered a real advantage of disc brakes.  They make removing and installing wheels easier!  No more releasing brakes.

The pump I carry with me is amazing.  It got the tire to near 90 psi quickly and almost effortlessly.  I wish the name of the pump was still on it because I plan to replace it with the same whenever the time comes, hopefully many years from now.  The smile on my face disappeared when I checked the tire.  Bulge!  The collision with concrete ripped the sidewall.  Let air out and put in a boot.  No tire boot, no tape so  American greenback was used.  Let's see.  $20 bill, $20 bill, $20 bill, $1 bill, BINGO!.  I wrapped George around the section of the tube that would be the the neighborhood of the tire tear.  Second time ever for this trick.  I needed to go at least 5 miles to Barr Bike to purchase replacement tire.  It worked but the dollar was ripped in half.  I plan to tape it together and write "Where's George?  He was wrapped around my tube when I put it in my tire!" on it.  Hopefully a cyclist will get it.

The blue buckets are rainproof.  Once home I left the bags outside and then placed on on Mary's snow bike for the photo.
The panniers.  these were a cheap set that I paid Donnie Hildreth $20 for.  He used them once on The Ragbrai and decide that he needed an upgrade.  I have used them for commuting and shopping for at least 3 or 4 years.  They were in perfect condition when they came into my possession.  But years of overloading, riding in winter, carrying up to 6 bottles of wine in each, full of beer and ice for party rides, tons of groceries and general over packing have taken their toll.  The impact of the sidewalk was the final straw for one side and whatever held it together on back tore in two.  I had to use a bungee cord to hold it up.

Been watching this rip grow.  Usually I have a bungee placed on the rack as support.
Frankly, I am glad these bags are dead.  They look like crap and were going to die soon. Sun faded and ripped.  No good or in shape for the life that I use them for.  I think I joked with someone on Thursday that Friday would be their last ride.  Lucky that it happened right there and then instead of a grocery run or late at night on a drunken bicycle expedition. They did their duty well.  They hauled tons of stuff.  Carried my work necessities to and fro in the worst and best of weather and provided me with great joy and service.  They easily went from bike to bike.  But I pushed them beyond their limits time and time again.  Never cause me to crash even when they gave up the ghost.  Now I have an excuse to get something else.  

 Mary arrived about the time I was finishing up and we rode together to Barr Bike.  She purchased a new tire, Continental Ultra Sport (cheap) and two tubes.  I really have not decided what I want to do with this bike.  It came with 700x28s and can take 29v1.7s if I so desire.  So a cheap 28 will make the nut and get me home and around until I make that decision.  Next week I'll put a set of 32s that Sean Johnson gave me.  They will be needed for the Cedar Valley Nature Trail on the Fools Ride.

In the end the bike did what it is supposed to do.  the tire and tube adsorbed the impact and gave up their lives to save the fork and the frame and myself.  The wheel to did its job.  A small dent is on it indicating that it took part of the brunt to save the rest of the bike and myself.  Apparently the rear wheel got involved judging by the loose spokes I discovered after getting home and placing the bike on the stand.  wheels are cheaper to replace than frames or whole bikes.  upgrade is in the wind!


1 comment:

  1. I think you are a little too kind with your superlatives, but thank you. Glad you are OK. :)