Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On the bus

Golden Gate Transit is usually the bain of the commuting community. Those guys take up more than their share of the roads (and bike lanes) and are quick to pass a bike, only to cut back in front to halt at the bus stop.

But sometimes, in the case of fatal bike mechanical issues, Golden Gate is the only way to salvage a commute short of calling home. And today is just one of those days. 

The remnants of my quick release and my view on the Bridge from the front seat of the bus

As noted in a previous post, I have been having trouble with the Surly and the rear wheel pulling out of the front facing horizontal drop out. This morning started innocently, with another slip on San Anselmo Avenue. I obviously need some way to tighten down the quick release more efficiently. 

On the hill up Alexander, I stood up and pulled the wheel out for a second time. Annoyed, I tightened the quick release pin extra tight, so tight that I couldn't get it all the way closed by hand. So I laid the bike down and finished the closing with my foot by standing on the pin. Well ... that may not have been the best idea. After only a single revolution of the cranks, the quick release pin snapped under all the tension. 

Snapped off at the pin

Now I'm truly screwed. No amount of gherry-rigging will be able to properly secure a wheel to the frame. Fatal Mechanical. Luckily, I was only a few hundred yards from the Sausalito Golden Gate Transit by stop. So on board I go. 

Half a bike is better than none at all, I guess. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I can break anything ...

It is a given that after a mountain bike ride, I will be either a) bleeding or b) heading to the bike shop to fix something that I broke on the bike.  Sunday's ride earned me teh bonus plan with both a bloody knee and a broken bike.

I was pretty cautious riding the China Camp back-side dodging roots and rocks and cliffs around every turn.  China Camp is especially daunting with tight trees to navigate, switchbacks and 30 foot drops down the mountain side.  But I am pleased to report that I made it out of the technical stuff unscathed.

However, upon hitting the fire trails, the path seemed to be 'groomed' to the point where gravel was added for traction or water issues or something.   This is where the blood comes in ... I got a little cocky and picked up the pace a bit.  I was chasing the guy in front of me through a slight left turn.  I leaned into the turn doing my best to keep momentum.  But the front wheel did not seem to like the angle of the turn combined with the looseness of the gravel below.  I hydroplaned (if you can hydroplane on rock) for a few feet as teh bike just slid out from underneath me.  Hence, the bloody knee and scraped up chest.  When I caught up to the guys I was with - 45 seconds later - Britt, noticing the dusted jersey, just looked at me quizzically and said, "Hey ... you went down".  Yup.  As usual, I went down.

Then for the mechanical issues ... As we were climbing back over the hill, I kept bumping my pedals on rocks.  This was not so much painful as it just interrupted any rhythm that I could maintain in climbing. On the single track downhill, I was, again, feeling more confident and started leaning into the turns again.  Somehow, I leaned too hard to the right into a rock or bush or something, and I bumped the derailleur into the bike spokes.  As you can imagine, the spokes grabbed hold of the derailleur and tore it completely off of teh bike.  The derailleur hangar snapped completely and the chain dragged the rear derailleur with us.

A good shot of the derailleur hangar (just above my index finger) which snapped off of the bike.

Bent derailleur

Luckily, we were at the end of the road.  I was able to get myself to the paved part to coast downhill back to the car.  But, again, straight to the bike shop for some not-inexpensive repairs.