Thursday, February 7, 2013
Depending on who you talk to, I may have asked for it. If you ask me, I blame jealousy!
You see, I have a couple of friends. Well, I have more than a couple, but these two in particular, are quite particular. These two call me more than all the others combined, when it comes to chasing down bicycle imperfections. Don't get me wrong. I'm not griping about these calls. In fact, I somewhat enjoy them. It's something akin to the involuntary laugh that we all let escape, when your buddy, who just happens to be putting you in a bit of distress on your own favorite singletrack, blows the next corner and yard-sales through the woods. Sure, I don't want them dead, but a little bruising never hurt anyone.....much. Builds character!
Even more than the guilty pleasure that comes from watching these friends struggle with their demons, I honestly hope to take a counseling approach. Either these guys have way more issues with their bikes, due to some sort of horrible luck, or they pissed of somebody in a past life. Or, and here's where it gets sticky, maybe these guys are just so particular, that no bicycle with the complex moving parts of today's dual suspension, multi-geared machine, will ever meet their standards of bicycle decency.
I may have gone so far as to suggest to one, or both, that maybe they would be happier on full rigid singlespeeds. Of course I said this with only their best interests at heart, and in no way intended to be jabbing at their exposed weaknesses. Everyone who knows me, knows I'm all serious, all the time!!
And then it happens. Slowly at first, but it's gaining momentum, and I don't like it. First my main bike begins a creak that lets all nearby, feel fairly certain that a pregnant goose is giving birth to a cow sized, man baby. The racket nearly drove me to tossing the offensive squawker straight into a creek at Redbug, and then hitch hiking home.
No sweat, it can be sorted. In the shop, I'm working through the exorcism of the goose demon, and I realize that my rear shock, apparently now has more air than oil in its damping mechanism. As it cycles through, it sounds like small pebbles pushing through an AC vent. And I'm not talking pretty little riverbed pebbles, that you decorate your fishbowl with. I'm talking hate filled, sharp toothed, rocks that later break down into ferocious sandblasting grains, and eat holes through your favorite metal door on that cherry '40 Ford you WERE restoring, until that malicious rock-sand made swiss cheese of that panel!
Fine! I'll just ride my hardtail. I go to throw my tires back on, and my compressor won't go above 25psi, which is not anywhere near enough to mount those tubeless tires. Whatever. Grab some tubes, and 2 of the last 3 I have, have holes in them. So with one 26" tube stretched to fill that 29" tire, and the other just as flat the St Mark's Trail, I hang it on the wall, hang my head in dejection, and return to my dinner.
The day dawns anew, and I write off these problems to coincidence. I take the cx bike with, knowing that she's trustworthy and versatile. I roll out after work, enjoying the crunch of gravel beneath my tires, and the smell of a false spring, as temps are far too warm for this to be February. As soon as it's too dark to see without lights, fate drops a hammer on my ride, yet again. I break my chain, and realize that I have left my chain tool in the truck.Once I borrow a tool, and set about the repair, I notice that my chainring has teeth nearly as sharp as those of those damnable rocks we discussed earlier. You know, the ones swimming through my rear shock and eating holes in '40 Ford doors. That means that I've gotten lazy, and let my chain wear beyond simple replacement, and a full drivetrain is in order, and soon to be on order.
Now all of these occurrences can be spun. What's that old saying about crisis and opportunity having the same symbol in ancient Norse Mythology, or some other culture that folks get tattooed without actually knowing that they just got "washing machine" permanently inked on their forearm? Anyway, the creak can be corrected, AND I learn more about the inner workings of my new steed. The rocks can be removed from my rear shock, and sent to some primal feeding pond, where they can eat all the metal they want, AND, my shock can be rehabilitated a'la the 6 million dollar man. When it returns to me, it will be custom tuned, systematic, and hydromatic! Why, it'll be Greased Lightening! The need for a new drivetrain has prompted me to move beyond the 9+ year old, 9 speed system, to the newer 10 speed hotness. Now when the guy at the gas station parking lot says he likes my 10 speed, he'll actually be right for a change.
So, I'm looking on the bright side and not trying to give too much credence to the occult, but just in case, Lil' Ronnie, will you PLEASE take the pins from all those little voodoo dolls you made, that not so mysteriously resemble all of my bikes? I'll TRY not to ever tell you you need to be on a single speed, again. I'll be here for you in your time of bicycle need, and I'll do my level best not to smile too much.