Late last summer, our second Italy bicycle tour was closing in fast. Time to start hitting some hills! So one Saturday, I hopped on Sully and took off for a hilly
climbers’ playground neighborhood near Joe Pool Lake.
After an hour or so of climbs, I was feeling strong and working up a sweat. Soon I’d start home. But first… a quick rest break at the nearby fire station. There’s a little lobby with a water fountain and restroom. I pulled into the wide fire-engine drive and aimed my weary self toward the shade at the opposite end of the building.
Both bike and brain coasted along. Until the raised sidewalk separating the garage drive from the parking lot appeared just in front of my wheel. I grabbed the brakes but it was too late. Sully jarred into the curb and I went over onto my right side.
A quick inventory revealed that all limbs were still present and functional… though one knee, sporting a patch of road rash, was going to be stiff. Sully was a different story. I tried rolling him to the fire station porch, but his back wheel wouldn’t budge.
Fine. I carried him.
No point in calling Brent–he was out on his bike somewhere. Maybe someone could give me a ride home? So I started scrolling through my phone contact list.
Some of these people I haven’t talked to in years. Others, I don’t even remember who they are. Some friends are inconsiderately located out of state.
I sat on a bench, tapping my phone against my chin and trying to decide what to do next.
A cyclist rode by. I sort of grudged that this guy wasn’t having any mechanical issu–wait–
I was gonna yell and chase him down, but he was turning in to the station anyway.
He was glad to see me… until he got a good look at my bike. Dripping with sweat, he managed to yank my rear derailleur out of the spokes where it had been jammed. I could pedal but not change gears.
I made the ten miles home without too much trouble. The next thing was to have the rear derailleur replaced.
One slight problem. My 10-speed derailleur was obsolete–no replacements. I’d have to switch to a new 12-speed one. No biggie, right?
The 12-speed required a 12-cog freewheel (cassette). Fine. Only the wider arrangement required a new wider-range front derailleur…
It was like a really expensive version of “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
We ended up replacing every single bit of the drive train. I was thankful we could at least keep Sully’s frame and handlebar.
I’m also thankful that I now have some seriously killer gears. Somehow those 13-percent grades don’t seem as steep as they used to.
Oh, and the tour?
It was fabulous.
Your Turn: Did you ever have an event coming up, and the preparations turned out to be waaaay more trouble and expense than the event itself? Let’s commiserate in the “Comments Welcome Here” box below.
Thanks for reading,