I have been effectively “de-wheeled” for the next couple of days. I took my bike in to Century Cycles over lunch break to assess the problem I noticed yesterday (and a little bit on Sunday) with my gears “slipping.” As I was pedaling, my chain would hesitate, as if there were slack in the chain, and then, in some cases, it would skip down to the gear below the one I was currently in. It happened constantly last night every time I pushed more aggressively on my pedals while climbing some of the hills in my low or middle front rings. It was only in the highest ring (the one with the largest diameter) that my gears seemed to stay in place.
One of the gentlemen in my bike club suggested I needed a new chain and, in fact, performed a test on my chain with some tool he had. Unfortunately, the test was inconclusive because he wasn’t sure he was reading the tool correctly. This same tool was brought out at Century Cycles and they assessed that, yes, I need not only a new chain but a new gear cassette in the back. $80 for the gear cassette and $28 for a new chain. Plus, since I can’t install these things myself, they have my bike until Saturday, which, they promised would be the very latest day they would have my bike.
“Man,” I remarked to the mechanic at Century Cycles, “these bikes sure require a lot of maintenance!”
Said Century Cycles mechanic, “Yeah, and we usually don’t tell people about the parts that need regular replacement because most people don’t ride them the miles that you do where this would ever become an issue.”
I’m assuming by that he means most people who come into Century Cycles buying a bike; most of the people in my bike club ride their bikes as hard and as often as I do. I guess we’re the weird minority.
Anyway, as I look sadly at my duffel bag containing my bike clothes that I was going to wear on tonight’s club ride, I reflect sadly that I should have taken my bike in for a tune up while I was on vacation. Now, as my legs are healed, I’m just itching to ride! Two whole days without my bike–whatever will I do with myself? (Forgetting earlier blog entry…)
Well, I do have my hybrid still, which I was planning to ride to church on Sunday like a good, environmentally-conscience Unitarian Universalist. I suppose I could ride it on one of my shorter routes if I’m jonesing for a bike ride. I have a feeling, though, I’ll really be depressed by its lack lustre speed and its all too comfortable positioning. It’s going to feel like I’m sitting on pillows with that cushy seat. I can’t have all this comfort stuff when I’m trying to exercise.
Or maybe someone will offer to take me for a spin on a tandem on one of these evenings before he leaves for a trip to Utah. *hint, hint* No, really, I’m not using anyone for their bike… I swear!
PARTS I’VE BOUGHT FOR OR REPLACED ON MY BIKE IN THE PAST YEAR:
Miles in terms of total lifetime use of the bike. I’ve had my Giant since 2006 and have ridden it a total of approximately 5,000 miles.
- Front & back brake pads, approx. $15 each (at approx. 4,000 miles or 2 years)
- Front & back tires, approx. $50 each (at approx. 3,000 miles or 1.5 years)
- Added a new water bottle cage so I wouldn’t have to wear my hydropack on shorter rides or registered tours with rest stops, approx. $15
- Bought back rack and trunk pack for commuter use (or registered tours where the weather may change multiple times during the ride and thus requires lugging lots of different clothing), totaling approx. $100.
- New seat/saddle, Terry Liberator, approx. $80.
- Gloves (need these every year as they wear fast), $20
This does not include all of the cycling attire I’ve bought in the last year, including club jerseys and shorts.
AND, I’m thinking about buying a new set of clipless pedals… Not sure I like these SPDs and would like to try Speedplay FROGS or something else that positions my foot better so that my knees aren’t so askew to the bike.
With the new pedals, I wanted to buy bike sandles for summer wear and airing of my stinky toes. (You have to buy them special so that the clip for the pedals can be installed. You can’t just use any old shoe.)
Hobbies are expensive. I could write another list detailing all the SKI equipment I’ve bought in the last year… GW can’t complain that I’m not contributing to the economy!