Seven Days, No Bike

Lately I’ve been too busy to write but now I’m bored so I thought I would bore you with my problems. Just kidding, they are not problems, but rather, opportunities for improvement. Believe it or not, I actually welcome a minor issue with my bike every now and then, as long as it does not leave me hurt or stuck somewhere. This is because I need to learn how to repair and maintain my bicycle and if it is not broken, I will not be motivated to work on it.

Last Monday, the shifter knob for the rear gears broke and left me stuck in high gear. This was not a major issue, because Florida is pretty flat and most of my ride is in that gear anyway. One notable exception is a bridge I go over on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

It’s hard to tell from the angle of the above picture but the bridge gets somewhat steep and I usually shift to an easy gear while I go over the bridge. This time, I changed the front gear, which I usually leave on the center sprocket, and the chain fell off. This caused me to lose my balance and, since I have not fully adjusted to the clipless peddles, could not unclip my right foot in time and fell over. Another cyclist saw this happen and asked if I was okay. I told him I was more embarrassed than hurt. Fortunately the rest of the ride home went fine.

When I got home I was tired and did not feel like working on the bike so I decided to drive to work on Tuesday and fix it that evening. I picked a good day to drive because it was a rainy day.

I had a new shifter knob that I bought months ago as a set when the other one broke. I thought about changing them both at once but then got lazy. So after work on Tuesday I took the broken knob off and put the new one on. It came with a cable so I threw the old cable away and snaked the new cable through the old sheaths, or whatever the official name is for the cable covers.

When I got them all the way through I discovered the cable was too short. I suppose it was designed for a standard bicycle, which my recumbent bike is not. I ended up pulling the short wire out of the shifter knob and fished the old wire out of the trash. I thought I could just thread it back through the knob but I needed to take it apart. When I did a small plastic piece popped out. I wasn’t expecting that and had no Idea where it went back in.

It took awhile but I finally figured out how to get the wire in and put the two pieces back together, minus the little plastic piece. Leftover parts are common, right? I then had to thread the old wire back through the covers but the end was frayed so I had to cut the last inch off. This worked almost good enough except there was always one strand that stayed out while the others went in. I kept cutting the wire shorter and the same thing kept happening until finally I got it to work, except now it was also too short.

I was determined to ride my bike on Wednesday so I decided to make sure my front shifter was properly adjusted, which I did, but noticed another problem while I was doing that. The adjustment on my rear brake was broken and one pad was rubbing against the tire. It must have happened when I fell over. I thought it seemed a bit harder to pedal but I did not consider that I had another problem. I guess I wasn’t going to ride to work Wednesday after all.

I ordered the parts I needed from Amazon on Wednesday and since I have the Amazon Prime, I got free two-day shipping, so they arrived on Friday. I put them on Saturday with few problems and I am ready to ride to work on Monday. The only problem is that Monday morning is going to be around 40 degrees and since I am a cold wimp and since I have not yet bought good cold weather cycling clothes, I think I will wait until Tuesday.

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