Monday, January 19, 2009

Small Ride, Big Mechanical

After Saturday's nice spin in early-morning fog around Camano Island, I couldn't resist getting back on the bike yesterday and trying to get a little sun. (It's been a while around here!) I was pushing it a bit, wearing only a short-sleeve SIR jersey, but once I got warmed up I felt fine.

The ride started out great, with me being able to climb in the big (53-tooth) ring, and generally feel good on the bike. Once on the shaded twists of Mercer Island, I was just trying to keep the speed above 20 mph, and I was succeeding. ("All systems pro," as Dennis says)

And then, after passing quite a few riders, my cranks started to feel really tight. Hmm.. Just a few days ago I had tinkered with the rear derailleur pulleys; did I tighten them too much? It was like the chain had seized or something..

After a few minutes of loosening/tightening things to no avail, I looked down at the BB and saw this: (note the exposed threads between the frame & chainrings)

Shit. There I was, at the southern tip of Mercer Island, with a barely rideable bike!

Just about all of the cyclists that I'd previously passed were now nicely offering me assistance, but I said I was "OK" - doubting they had a campy BB tool on hand.. and also embarrassed to be wearing the jersey of "self-sufficient cyclists", e.g. my SIR jersey.

Anyway so I hobbled along, as I was able to turn the pedals enough to go 5-8 mph. I still had about 10 miles to get home, so once I finally got back up to the north end of the island, I headed straight for the bus stop.

The timing couldn't have been better, and I made it on a 550 headed to Seattle. One small problem though: I didn't bring any money! So I had to essentially sweet-talk my way onto the bus. Thanks, driver!

And once back in Seattle, my slow journey wasn't over. Now I was at Rainier Ave & I-90, with only a few miles to go to home, but also still lugging around an almost-unrideable bike. I couldn't even spin up hills, due to the resistance of the pedals, so I ended up walking most of the way.

I suppose it happened at a good time, e.g. not on a brevet!

But now this has me questioning why I'm riding on an Italian-threaded BB at all, given that this is known to happen (it's reverse-threaded from English style, and they can come loose, as seen above). The LBS always said it wasn't an issue, with proper torque, but I guess I let it go too long without a checkup..

It was a good reminder to be prepared! Even if that just means bringing $0.50 for a phone call, or having your bike in good working condition.


Robert H said...

Or if the pay phone is in Packwood, make sure you have at least 5 dollars in change on hand.

Unknown said...

the 10 essentials of Randonneuring should include Andy Speier. i've had so many friggin' mechanicals on rides - not to mention the loss of three out of five chain ring bolts on a 200K permanent around the mtn loop highway (e.g. the middle of nowhere) - but with Andy, never once was it an issue.

lots-o-change wouldn't hurt either.

glad you and your Cioc are OK too.

Anonymous said...

back in the day before cell phones i taped two quarters to underneath my seat (selle turbo!) "jic". nowadays i under my jersey i wear dog tags ( in a sleeve and keep a twenty in there too.