It's late and that crappy title was all I could come up with. Well, the "Fool Of Chains" part...that part's stupid and, as you'll see, wicked literal. The insomnia's back I figured I'd get out of bed, drink some herbal sleepy tea or some shit, watch some Lost and babble at you guys for a bit. Lost has uh...lost me. Once the show went into flash forward instead of backward mode things just got too depressing. I like real magic and lack of metaphor. You know that movie The Quest, starring the kid from E.T., where it turns out that the dinosaur in the rock quarry is really a steam shovel or something? I HATED that shit. It was the worst. All I know is that, if I get to the end of the series and realize that the final two seasons were as worthless as valve caps, I am gonna be pissed. I mean, if I'd known that the first two seasons of The Sopranos were the only ones worth watching, I could have added days to my life. But that's not important right now and I doubt it ever will be.
Of course, if level of importance determined what got printed on Big Bikes well...
So ya, wreckin' shit, that's what we're gonna talk about today.
On the way home from the Bike Mines, I ripped my pants. I didn't just rip them, I tore them from just behind the knee up to my butt...and then I took this photo, which illustrates none of that. I didn't rip them myself either, the Schwinn Varsity tore them for me...because it was pissed. It was payback for what I'd done to it. You see, I actually performed service on the thing, it doesn't like that. Since I received the bike from the Todd Downs collection, I don't know...six years ago, I have done nothing but fix three flats. Todd warned me that I was playing with fire because I'd gone ahead and used presta instead of schrader tubes. Incredibly, all three of those flats occurred on my porch overnight. Never have I been left stranded by this bike. But I couldn't leave well enough alone could I? I had to go and repack the hubs and replace the chain and install new tires without huge gashes in the sidewalls with bits of tube sticking out. Hey, at least I didn't replace the two missing spokes in the rear wheel. Give me some credit here.
So riding home tonight, the Varsity bit me...with its seatbinder bolt. Repeatedly. This has never happened before. It was some Siegfried and Roy shit. We'll see if I so much as lube the chain any time in the next six years.
Which leads me to my next tale of poor bicycle maintenance biting me in the ass. (See, very literal on lack of sleep. This is not good.)
After NEMBA's Fells opening day kick off party on Saturday, I was all amped up to ride, so I headed out for a little rip on the Sawyer (which is for sale) Sunday AM. I took a flyer at a steep little bastard of an uphill, something I can hardly make on the geared bike, but my gear was low and I was feeling like a fucking ninja. About three quarters of the way up — BLAM! — my chain popped and I went flying. Knee into carbon bar, shoulder into pointy rocks, profanity spewing into warm, spring air. It was ugly.
My knee went pretty cantalouped by the evening, could have been worse. Could have gone watermeloned.
I saw that the chain had broken at the Powerlink, a first for me. No matter what I say, someone out there's gonna say "Oh, that's what you get for running SRAM chains. You shoulda been runnin' a blahhdity blah chain." But y'know what? Someone out there's broken a blahhdity blah chain too. Fact is, I've never broken a SRAM chain until now. And I don't blame SRAM one bit, I blame...Osama Bin Laden...I mean me, I blame me. Since I haven't been racing all that much (at all) I have not been keeping my equipment up like I used to. I'm generally supah-fastidious about replacing my chains, I do it at least once a month whether I need to or not. Between that practice and my mojo, I've had good luck with chains.
My mojo, that was the other issue.
For as long as I can remember I've been zip-tieing a few chain links connected with a Powerlink between my saddle rails to ward off chain breaks and to remedy one should it occur. These links have come in handy for fixing other people's mechanicals, but never my own. Saturday morning I was working on a bike for a BBMBR client and it turned out he had a stiff link in his chain. I couldn't find a Powerlink anywhere in my shop, so I clipped the one off my saddle rails and was done with it. That's another issue — I'd been reusing Powerlinks for a while, the one that broke was probably ancient. Wicked smaaht.
The chain break sucked, but what sucked worse was that, without the links, I was screwed. This being a first, I was unprepared — I had no 8mm wrench to undo the set screws on the dropout. (I'm so glad my new bike will have an eccentric BB.) The sliding dropout was far enough back that I might have had a chance to throw the chain back together with the existing links and then slide the dropout forward, but with the set screw inhibiting that process, like I said...screwed.
Ah, not that screwed. I scooted my bike downhill to Medford Square, got a strawberry frappe at Colleen's and awaited rescue.