My twelve speed Schwinn has been holding up well for this go round of 30 days of biking, though the past two days have seen some inclement conditions - Saturday night I got caught in a rainstorm and the chain stretched, a bit, or got extra clean from all of the rain water. The result was today's painful and nearly sadistic bike ride. After getting under way, about fifteen miles on the roundabout to the library, I shifted my chain between my rear cassette and my spokes. (ONE). This occurred, (TWO), numerous, (THREE) times before, (FOUR), making it to the library, (FIVE). (SIX). The first three or four times, as the rear wheel came out of alignment and connected with the frame of the bicycle, I was stopped short and removed myself from the bicycle in order to de-spoke the chain and re-align the wheel. By the sixth occurrence, a little less than a block from my destination, I got all Walter Langowski, Bruce Banner, Dr. Jekyll and went into a 2001 Space Odyssey, "This is my club, hear me roar!" routine. What seemed at the time a display of strength and mechanical mastery was more akin to George Costanza as Koko, the talking chimp. Highly ineffectual.Bless those librarians though.
I walked into my local branch, literally dripping blood from the gouges on my fingers, (did I mention the chain, rear cassette and front cranks actually tore skin off my fingers as I sought to separate the chain from the spokes and cassette), and proceeded to clean my hands, apply band aids from a first aid kit, and soap away what grit had gotten into the cuts. I even stayed for the free wi-fi before quietly exiting, hoping I hadn't elicited a disaster preparedness drill. I am eternally grateful.
I snapped a quick photo of downtown St. Paul, (for some reason this corner, with the buildings, reminds me of a Georgia O' Keefe painting, from the New York series), stopped for lunch and hoped the worst of it was behind me. Wrong.
Mercifully, the rear derailleur snapped in half, and the day was over. Well, half over. A good Samaritan rolled past and asked if I needed help. I replied yes, introduced myself and proceeded to relate my tale of woe. Oscar, as he introduced himself, quickly helped me transform my twelve speed into a single speed, which allowed me to motivate to the nearest DIY. Not incidentally, the rear wheel decided to re-align itself every time I started from a stand still, thus finding myself on the side of the road, again re-aligning the rear wheel as traffic honked and gawkers gawked - I understand this is why single speeders prefer not having a quick release. Two hours later at the DIY, some gauze and bandages and I'm all set for tomorrow. Big thanks to The Hub.
|Downtown Saint Paul, 4-23-2012. Photo by Michael McKinney.|
|New Cassette, Chain, Rear Derailleur. Photo and work by Michael McKinney.|
|Some really sharp, dirty objects. Photo by Michael McKinney.|