Monday, June 05, 2006

Bike Breakdown...

After a weekend of rain, today looked like it was going to be a nice day.  No rain, not to hot and only light winds.  Looked like a perfect day to attempt my first 100 mile ride.  So, after taking care of Nuke in the morning, I set out on the bike at about 9:30.  After a bit of reading over the weekend and analysis of my last ride, I planned to focus on cadence for this ride so I flipped the GPS to the view where the cadence RPM takes precedence.  The planned route is going to be similar to the 50 mile ride I did a few weeks back, except when I get to Concord, I'm going to head down route 62 towards Maynard for about an hour or so to add on the additional miles.
Everything is going great, but after I'm through Arlington, I happen to notice the calorie reading is still at 0.  Doh!  I forgot to hit start - even after telling myself over and over not to forget to hit start!  No worries, only about 3-4 miles of data lost.  I hit start and continue on - cadence target is 90 RPM which generally feels Ok, but its definitely putting me in gears a bit lower than I would naturally select to bring the RPMs up.
In Chelmsford (I think), I hit a top speed of 37.5 mph - definitely a lot of fun to be going this fast, but a bit scary as well as the bike seems to want to lift off the ground due to the wind.
I cross through West Concord center on 62, about 30 miles into the ride and feeling great.  But, as I pedal down after stopping at a stop light, the rear wheel locks up and the bike skids to a halt.  Luckily I either get my feet unclipped (or possibly never had time to clip them in) so I'm able to get my feet on the ground safely and take the bike onto the sidewalk.  I thought it was just the chain falling off.  Boy - was I wrong.  When I looked at the back wheel, it was pretty messed up.  Apparently the derailleur hangar snapped throwing the derailleur into the spokes and wedging the chain between the cog and the spokes.  A few of the chain links looked to be in pretty sad shape - one opened up completely.  Looks like it will be tough to fix given that I'm only carrying a few spare tubes and a multi-tool.  Good thing I decided to bring my wallet - it looks like I'll be in need of a taxi ride.
I ask a passing postman if there's a bikeshop nearby.  I doubt its a quick fix, but its worth a try.  He wasn't sure - but we agreed I should head back to West Concord and then Concord for my best shot at finding one.  I continue to struggle with the bike to free up the rear wheel so I'll at least be able to roll it.
As I'm doing this, another guy comes up and asks if I need help with the repairs.  When I show him what's wrong, he agreed its not something that he'd be able to help me with.  But, he then offered a ride.  Turns out he (Brian) runs a bike shop in Medford (JRA Cycles) and he was on his way there.  I took him up on the offer and tossed the bike into the back of his Honda Element (fun car, and perfect for hauling bikes around - his was in there as well).  In addition to running the bike shop, Brian is also an avid BMX racer and has also done various other forms of bike riding/racing in the past.  While I can't say the breakdown was good luck, I certainly was lucky to be seen by such an avid bike rider who was extremely gracious with his time and assistance.  I highly recommend you check out his shop in Medford.
Meanwhile, I bring mine back to Ace - although its probably a bit of a long shot, I've got to figure that either they or the manufacturers are partly responsible for such a major breakdown with less than 300 miles on the bike - either the part was faulty or the bike wasn't tuned properly when delivered.  We'll see what happens when I pick up the bike on Thursday.  For now, it looks like I'll be back on the trainer for the next few days...  And, my first 100 mile ride still eludes me. 

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