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10/03/09
Post-Partum Depression
Filed under: general, bike tech
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 10:59 pm

I’ve finally figured out that I get depressed when I break bike parts.  Maybe  that’s overstating things a little.  I mean, it’s not like I’m weeping-in-the-streets depressed, but nonetheless, it bugs me.  I don’t like seeing the parts break. 

Certainly things break.  And the recent crank failure appears to be a sub-spec part, so it wasn’t operator error.  However, there’s a distinct lack of alternatives, and that’s pretty much my own damn fault. My combination of sloth and deferred maintainence kind of caught up to me.  And that gets me clearly depressed.  

Let me explain - I’ve mentioned this axiom before:
“As the number of bicycles increases, the chance that none of them will work correctly increases exponentially.”

Which means that when a wheel on one bike isn’t quite true, you tend to start using the next one, which then develops a bit of toe-in error and squawks whenever you squeeze the rear brake.  So, you leave that one hanging in the garage - certainly meaning to get back and spend a few minutes with the wrenches to heal that up - and use the next for a while. 

In my case, I’d been riding the Quickbeam until my forward motion was rudely interrupted by my index finger coming between me and a suddenly-opening truck door.  That bent up the brake lever and bars well beyond repair, tweaked the stem and saddle rails and introduced me to the glacial-molasses world of insurance reimbursement.

Since the Hilsen  was looking for use, once my shoulder and neck would allow it, that became my main ride. 

Now, I did figure that I’d get the Quickbeam up and running again once the broken and damaged bits were replaced. (And, just to divert briefly, the other driver’s insurance company has been decidedly mute on paying off my damage. Hey, it’s only been 90-freakin-days!!!)  So, maybe my sloth is a little off the hook on that one…

But, before I decided to try out the Brooks Swift on the Hilsen, I had been moving saddles around a bit, and had pulled the B-17 off of the Dawes fixed gear. Which meant it was dutifully awaiting its next assignment while brandishing a naked seatpost.

My geared hardtail mtb has a variety of issues - rear wheel, drivetrain, ratty cables - most of which have been multiplied by disuse and the removal  of pedals sometime during last year’s cyclocross season.  In fact, the geared mtb has been used so little, my most-frequent ride buddies have actually never seen me riding it.  This is both comedic and tragic.

(And is starting to veer a little off-topic as well.  It’s just meant to put a couple of asterisks next to the players on the scorecard - to see the ones who are nursing injuries. )

With the snapping crank of a week and a half ago, that pretty much left me with a set of mostly unrideable bikes.   Oh, the Zeus is still plugging along, and it’s been my local errand bike reliably for a while. But, there is something in the back of my mind that troubles me when I’m relying upon a twenty…no… thirty year old bike and components of somewhat unknown provenance.  I tend to treat it with the respect and fear that demands. 

The last horse in the  barn is the Bridgestone MB1SS.  Which, by virtue of its singlespeedyness remains reliable, generally capable of being run hard and put away wet.  But, there too, the gremlins of entropy chew greedily upon the tendons of hope.  The last few times I’ve been out on the trails, there has been the relatively infrequent slip of the freehub, the tinny and thin alarm sounding the beginning of pawl death.

Now, it isn’t that I can’t fix these issues (well, except for the Zeus, which will only - hopefully - continue to grow older).  But, free time has been at a premium this past month, and riding rather than wrenching has been the course I chose.  And, if the folks at Ritchey Logic had suggested that the whole crankarm thing would be something other than a replacement, I would’ve pulled the other arm, swapped out the bottom bracket, slapped on the Sugino XD2’s that have been sitting in a box since the C. Xavier Hilsen project, and either swapped the 48T ring from the Ritchey or dropped the front derailleur down for the 46T on the Sugino, and I would’ve been good to go.

And I’m hoping to get free for a couple hours this week to head across the bay, drop in on the folks in Walnut Creek and pick up the bits I need to get the Quickbeam out again.   That bike deserves to be on the roads and trails, and I’m missing the steady silent rhythm of riding fixed.

Even writing about getting those bikes going has perked me up a bit. (And I do think I’ve been fighting something this last week, which generally doesn’t help one’s outlook.)  No telling what a little bit of time and energy can do.


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