True, all and out disaster struck this weekend… My bike’s been getting harder and harder to ride – shifting so badly (sometimes not at all) that I’ve picked my main gear and stayed in it for the last month or two. Then just the last several rides I noticed a clicking in my chain when when I pedaled. I opened my Book o’ Basic Bike Repair and did what was reasonable – checked the chain for tight links, checked for bent links, oiled everything up, tightened nuts and bolts and your mom… But all to no avail. My roommate also needed to true is back tire so Sunday we drove up to the bike co-op (a fantastic local set-up that teaches people how to build and repair bikes by doing projects for people with low fees or volunteer hours. Members get their repair projects for free and member ship is either $35 a year or 5 hours of volunteer – that is, Gopher – work) and presented my shabby blue for inspection. They complimented me on how clean and pretty she was, how well I’d obviously tended to her and loved her, then got her up on the table and began inspecting.
A piece of paper was fetched and they started listing the parts I’d need to get on ebay or little nooks and corners of the internet to get the best price – her freewheel was shot, the cassette completely worn down. All the teeth were nubs, which is why my chain wasn’t staying on (did I mention I ride a LOT lately?), the same for the crank. The list was tallied, along with suggested prices of what the parts should cost so I didn’t get ripped up… And then my volunteer looked at me and said, Listen. These parts are going to be hard to find in good shape – she’s old and they don’t make all these parts the same way anymore. When you find them, if you find them, they’re going to cost more than the bike is worth. We can fix this… but you might want to consider putting the old girl down.
I coulda cried. He did some fiddling and tightening things, a little rigging and after a while he got it set up so the chain would stay on and shift.
But I’d been watching Craigslist, hoping to get really lucking on an old road bike the Co-Op could help me make shiny and fast for races (did I mention I’m doing a Halloween ride race? In costume! You’re welcome to come! we aren’t competing, just hoping to finish. It’s on the 30th. We’ve signed up for the shortest distance – 31 miles and costumes are obviously a must. Come, come!) and triathlons… So I knew of a local guy who was selling two hybrids, his and hers, from my favourite bike company, along with some shiny extras, everything still under factory warranty. I talked to him and he had a sob story – diagnosed with diabetes, laid off from work as a jeweler… And Scott was talking about getting a new bike and I’d been -trying- to convince him to get a match to mine so we’d be riding the same kind of bike over the same kind of terrain… So we drove down to inspect the bicycles.
Skittles and beer, they’re beautiful. And -ours-. We got a steal. Still more than I wanted to pay for a bicycle but they’re new and exquisitely beautiful. (Also, blue. It’s the Specialized Ariel Sport in blue and white. The bike had my -name- on it, how could I not buy it?) I feel stupidly irresponsible, spending money on such a beautiful bike but this is a bike that can go for miles and miles and miles… I can do group rides and travel trips without worrying that it’ll fall apart. Also, she lives inside and I have to buy a heavy duty U lock because this is a bike people would want to steal. O_O
It came with pedal straps and a really spiffy new cycling computer – complete with cadence counter and heart rate strap. It’s sooo sexy. I’m torn between being miserable because I’m poor (No larp for the rest of the year. Not until March at least) and happy because she rides SO FAST and SO SMOOTH.