Saturday, March 7, 2009

The long and the short of today's ride.

"Long" refers to the long arm of the law; "short" refers to the duration of ride before unrecoverable mechanical failure.


If you couldn't guess, today's ride was not the best I've ever had. Originally planned to do some exploring in the North Hills, then saw a Ken Cushey (Mr. "Hills Are My Friends" himself) ride posting for 11 AM out of Cecil. Looking at the clock, I figured I'd have just enough time to hop on the bike and make it out for the ride start, so aborted the North Hills plan and set off for Bridgeville and parts south.

Something was in the air today...lots more impatient drivers, and LOTS more drivers who seemed incensed that I had the effrontery to be on their roads. Apparently, in the 2-mile stretch of Route 50 up from Main St in Carnegie, two motorists called 9-frickin'-1-1 to complain about some guy on a weird bike who was "riding in the middle of the lane" (true, at some points), "signaling cars to pass without giving them enough room" (uh, what? I've signaled you to pass...if you don't feel there's enough room, that's on your head), and "running red lights" (not, in point of fact, true). A very polite officer signaled me over at the Wal-mart, and gave me a quick warning about following the rules; no harm, no foul, but it kinda shot my mood for the rest of the ride.

From there, I headed over on Thoms Run to Prestley, then back over to 50 through Bridgeville. Millers Run to Presto-Sygan, then a left up the hill where the road was closed, then falling over sideways on the hill because my chain suddenly dropped. Brief profanity, brush myself off, get road grime all over my new cheapie gloves as I reset the chain, then repeat the exact same thing 6 feet up the road. WTF?

A close inspection seemed warranted. Turns out that I'd somehow blown a sideplate on one of my chain links; under any form of load, when that link hit the chainring, *pop* goes the drivetrain. Also turns out that, for some moronic reason (probably related to "I never use this"), I'd neglected to pack both my quick link and my chain tool when I stocked the tool bag. More profanity ensued, mostly self-directed this time. Ended up calling Deena for a ride, as I just didn't A)feel good about making it up to TRM when I couldn't apply any power or B) feel good about hitting up a hardware store for a hammer and punch to do some impromptu chain surgery. Bugger.

So, I've now doubled the number of times I've had to call for a bailout. Not bad in 4 years, but still, a ding to my pride.

On the bright side, I now have no reason to delay the spring teardown and rebuild, while I wait for a new 11' length of chain to arrive. So, the P-38 is in fragments in the basement, and most of the complicated bits have been degreased, cleaned, and lubed. I'll go ahead and get the fenders mounted (I want to fab some different mounts, as I was getting a bit of wheel rub when cranking hard on curves.), the rear rack installed, and see about hooking up the dynamo and lights. Might as well complete the transformation from relatively light and agile road machine to unstoppable juggernaut of randonneuring fury now, rather than next month.

1 comment:

Alan said...

"Unstoppable juggernaut of randonneuring fury"

Man. I'm not sure how to feel about that. Sounds terrifying. A gorgeous turn of phrase, nonetheless.