As if two broken spokes in 2 weeks wasn't enough...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I was backing out of my driveway this morning just before the crack of dawn. Suddenly, I noticed that there was a dark car parked behind me. I slammed on the brakes and managed to avoid hitting the car. Unfortunately, I hit my bike. Yikes! Way to start the day off right.

When I got to the trail, I unloaded the bike and noticed that the front wheel wasn't turning smoothly. That's the one I hit. It seemed to be badly out of "true," so I got out my spoke wrench, only to find that I'd bought the wrong size. I could have sworn that I bought the right one. Fortunately, it's only a small expense. The worst was that I couldn't do anything to mitigate the problem with the wheel.

I knew that the earliest bike shop to open would be the one in Georgetown (Cycle Life), on my way to work, so I rode there slowly, with the brake rubbing all the way. I only learned later that the best thing to do in that instance is to unhook the front brake -- another lesson learned.

Mike, my other favorite mechanic, got in promptly at 8:00 am. He did everything he could to straighten out the wheel, but it's not perfect. He said I could still ride it, but that I might need a new wheel in a couple of months. He also talked to me about installing a different kind of cable (gears and brakes) for the winter, to better protect the bike from the elements.

As I started mentally adding up the costs of a new seat, seatpost, and cables, I started wondering if I should really spring for a new bike or continue to fix up the existing one. Mike thought that unless I was prepared to spend about $700--$1000, it really wasn't worth getting a new bike. He didn't think a bike in the $350 range would last me very long. He recommended keeping the current one, with all of its enhancements, until I can afford a new one, and keep the current one as my rainy day bike.

So that's the plan. The new seat post I ordered will be longer, which will allow me to raise my seat all the way up to the level that my PT thinks is right. Elevating it will also cause it to move backward a bit. That should solve the knee problem. Then all I'll have to do is make the winterizing adjustments, and make sure I have the right clothing.

It's supposed to be in the '40s tomorrow morning.

I forgot to mention that the car I almost hit belongs to the woman who cleans house for the family across the street. I have asked her before if she could park somewhere other than right in front of my driveway, and I explained why. It makes it harder to back out, and it's just too easy to hit her car accidentally; we've had lots of near misses, and we have a new driver in the family. There is plenty of room on the street. I believe she is Hispanic, and in the past, she has pretended not to understand me. This afternoon I ran into her again, so I made a point of stopping to try and talk to her again. She actually pretended not to see me! She did everything possible to avoid talking to me, but I confronted her. I told her that I almost ran into her car. At this point, she was running toward the door of the neighbor's house saying "I move, I move." I wasn't sure she quite grasped how serious I was, so I mentioned that instead of her car, I had hit my bike and broken it. At that point, she actually stopped and took notice of me, and said: "But I park across the street," as if that made a difference. We have lived in this neighborhood for almost 17 years. She has probably worked for the family across the street for at least 8 of those years. The neighbor across the street is a rabbi who receives a lot of people in his home ("We invited our 500 best friends, " the rabbi said, on one occasion. ) We have been extremely patient about all the extra traffic this draws to the neighborhood, and all the extra cars parked outside our house. This is the only concession we have ever asked for.

Is it so hard for the woman to understand that this is for her own good, too?
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