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!

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!

8 thoughts on “De-wheeled!!

  1. mars girl,The sandals may not work with Speedplay frogs. I know I’ll take heat for saying that but Speedplay has a list of non-compatible shoes and the Shimano SPD sandals are on that list. It has to do with the distance from the cleat mount to the outer edge of the sole. There are positions of the crank rotation where the sandal is so wide it may hit the crankarm and you may not be able to release cleanly if at all.

  2. Hey, who enlightened me with this information? ;)Regardless, I want to get different clips than SPD. Mine annoy the crap out of me because I have to apply WD40 to them all the time so that they wont squeak in my shoe. Besides that, I think they don’t give me enough float for my leg. My knees need a little more freedom to move. I think it’s the pedals causing this… Michael suggested Frogs because that’s what he uses (both of us rather wear mountain bike shoes than road shoes because they have more traction).Do you have a suggestion of a pedal I should try? Do bike shops let you try different clips, maybe on a bike on a trainer or something? When I bought my first clips, they just recommended SPDs so that’s what I ended up with…I need someone to help me analyze what I need to fix about my leg positioning…

  3. Sorry, forgot to sign the earlier post. Didn’t think you’d know me anyway. The Frog pedals will work out great to help eliminate your knee discomfort. Just pair them up with an appropriate pair of shoes. They’re my favorite set of pedals.Check the signature on your work ticket when you pick up your bike tonight. That’d be me.

  4. Wow! I have a lurker from CC! It’s a good thing I’ve only said good things about you guys in these past several posts. Of course, I would only say good things about Century Cycles. You guys do great work and I trust my bike to you. I’ve spent lots of money in that store (including the purchase of my bike!), too, so I’m sure Scott Cowen loves me. ;)And I say that without expecting any free stuff or discounts…=)

  5. Only two bikes? It’s obviously time for more… :-)As far as pedals go, I’ve never tried the Frogs. I use Speedplay X-2’s on the road and Time ATACs off-road. You might want to also look into the Times — I’ve been really happy with them (although some of their advantages are not relevant for road riding, e.g., mud tolerance). I don’t know whether they work with the SPD sandals, though.Also, if you stay on top of replacing your chain often enough, you’ll really reduce your cassette wear. It’s a little hard to tell because my wear is currently spread over seven bikes, but I’ll bet that I get at least 10k miles on a cassette by being really careful about checking for chain stretch and replacing chains before it gets too far.Kent

  6. Kent, what I fail to mention is how I salivate when I look at Giant TCRs… the next level above the Giant OCR that I have. Ohhh… and the Giant OCR Composite frame is so sexy…So… probably at some point in the future, I’ll end up with another road bike. Shame on me.Yeah, I was woefully neglectful of my chain maintenance… I wasnt aware that it was a part I would have to change regularly. I did, however, clean it frequently, usually after I’d ridden in the rain and it got all “gooky.”

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