Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two-wheeled Relationship Problems

I think my bike and I are having some serious relationship problems and I am not sure we will last the summer.   
The Day I brought The Trek 1.5 home.  How many high hopes I had for you, Bike.  

Yesterday, I was climbing Lorane with the Hutch's Bikes Monday group, and shifted down to my granny gears.  I heard an ominous chattering, like there was something hitting my spokes.  I thought perhaps I had gotten a twig or a branch caught in my rear derailleur.

No such luck.

One of the Hutch's guys, who was behind me, shouted "Shift!  Your derailleur is hitting your spokes!"

I shifted up and climbed the rest of Lorane in the "spinster aunt" gears (which are harder than granny gears). At the top of Lorane, we looked at my derailleur and discovered an almost-total crack running through the hanger.  That was it.  I was out of the ride.  For the non-bikers, if your derailleur hanger falls off, there's nothing connecting your chain to your wheels.  Best case scenario, you stop.  Worst case scenario, your chain gets caught in your spokes as you fall and you crash on a hill or in some other terribly inconvenient space.  Rescue is at least 30 minutes off as your husband has to race to the bike shop to get the cars to come save you, while you swear profusely at your bike.

Notice in that scenario, I didn't even cover the possible injuries.  Having actually broken bones on a bike (not to mention the inevitable road rash and little cuts and scrapes), I figured I don't need that karma.

Note: NOT a current picture.  Calm down, mom.
This is what happened the last time I tempted karma.  To this day, I can only give you a 45 degree thumbs up.


M bailed with me, and we limped back to the bike shop.  The Lorane highway, which is a bad road going up, is a pot-holed federal disaster area going down.  I totally slowed traffic because it was just too dangerous to go down near the side of the road, so I blocked the center.  It must have been five minutes before I could find a place level enough to stop and allow cars to squeeze by me.

Yeah, I don't think I'll be descending Lorane again.

We got to the bike shop without further ado, except that my throat was really dry from all the swearing I did.  Yeah, you don't think I know that kind of language.  My knuckles were white, even after unclenching.  My palms had big red swaths imprinted with my bar tape pattern.  My hand is still sore this morning.  (Granted, it is the broken bone hand, so it could just be telling me the future...)

Bascially, this bike has really twitchy steering (which I'm convinced contributed to my Big Crash in Vermont with the broken bones, as well as the Cottage Grove Clumsy Crash), oddball balance, and a geometry that is more suited to a gorilla- short legs, long torso.  (I'm all leg with a little bitty torso so short that I shop for jackets and shirts in petites and for pants in tall.)  I blame the Bike Shop in my hometown doing such a crappy non-job of fitting, but the end of the story is that I just don't trust my bike anymore.  Oh, Bike, our relationship is coming to an end.  Sorry.  It's not you.  It's me and my short torso and inability to trust.

Meanwhile, I have been test-riding some other bikes.  I rode a Lexa SLX, and didn't like it.  It's okay, I guess, but it's built for plush, not for speed.  I hated the drops, and the store didn't seem eager to suggest changing the handle bars.  "Yeah, geometry has changed" is not the answer I want when what I'm looking for is perfect fit.  I'm already on crummy geometry.   Sorry, Trek, but it is looking like my next road bike is not going to be a Trek.  It'll be my first non-Trek road bike since I started riding seriously in Seminary.

So sad.  I loved my Treks.

I test-rode a few Felts, and the women's model was dreamy.  I'm on a smaller frame (a 51 instead of a 54) and have smaller handlebars, and all of a sudden it felt like I had no shoulders at all.  I had no idea how uncomfortable my shoulders had been.  And riding the smaller geometry has driven home how stretched out and twitchy my current bike is.

I am unfaithful to my recalcitrant, troublesome red-and-white Trek.  And I think the end of our relationship is nigh.

1 comment:

The Vagabond Priest said...

Update: There is a later post somewhere, I think, about my new BMC. The Trek was sold to a woman who is a little bit taller than me, but who also has a longer torso. She LOVES the Trek, but it also fits her perfectly. She has found a soul mate. Meanwhile, my new BMC is so teeny that I have a hard time finding a place to put its race numbers, but my torso is finally, finally comfortably squashed up like everyone else's. Bliss!