Thursday, September 30, 2004

What doesn't go around... (diary)

I'm really pissed off.

Coming home on my bike, I hit a pothole, and the bump made my pannier jam into my spokes. I had to immediately pull over to assess the damage.

My rear wheel was out of true and rubbing against the brake, and one of the spokes appeared to be stripped; I definitely couldn't ride it without further screwing things up.

Another cyclist stopped and offered his tools, but he didn't have a spoke wrench (I did). Nevertheless, I was not going to learn how to true a wheel at night on the side of the road. Angrily, I banged my headlight battery against the sidewalk. It broke, but not terminally (pun unintended).

Luckily, the place where I stopped happened to be a bus stop, but the following things needed to fall into place:
(1) a bus would have to come by soon (if it didn't, I would have walked to the transitway)
(2) the bus would have to have a bike rack on the front (the particular routes don't all have them)
(3) if the bus didn't have a bike rack on the front, either the driver would have to let me on the bus with the bike, or I would have to the transitway, which would have taken me much further from home than this bus.

I was lucky that a bus came by shortly after and that the driver let me on with my bike. It was nice of him to 'bend' the rules. On the bus, I found that I could use my U-lock as a spacer between my rack and my pannier so that the pannier doesn't rub against the spokes. A bit late for this instance, but I'll probably save a lot of time and money in the long run on repairs.

Anyway, after I got home, I tried to fix the problem. I took the tire, tube, and rim tape off so that I could see if the spoke that had been bent was still usable. It's just as well I did that because I needed to do a lot of adjusting on the spokes, and it was a lot easier from the ends of the spokes with a screwdriver than on the inside of the rim with a spoke tool.

Another part of the problem was that the entire brake assembly had been rotated, and this contributed to the rubbing. That was easily fixed.

The biggest problem was getting the tire back on the wheel. The tire is about the same size as the rim, so it makes mounting it a real bitch. The first (and, actually, second) time I put the tire back on, I pinched the tube witht the tire lever. Both times, I had to re-remove the tire and patch the snake bite. The third time, I was able to get it on properly, but not without taking my agressions out twice on a long stake of wood that I slammed against the floor.

In the end, I learned to prevent this type of thing from happening again, learned how to true the wheel, learned a bit about wheel construction, and managed to get my tire back on without puncturing the tube. I also wasted at least an hour (but more likely two) because of this whole bundle of shit. My only consolation was that I left the pub earlier than expected, so I might as well have been out so late that I wouldn't have been home earlier than after I ended up being finished with this repair, but it would have been less stressful.

I missed the Daily Show. Maybe tomorrow morning at nine.

- RG>

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