Let me quote to you the section from my book North Country Cache of the last time I rode this bicycle. The date was March 1999, and I was doing an Ohio hike in a similar style to the one I just returned from- walking and riding bike. But I had my road bike on that trip.
From chapter "Puzzled: the Bike Breakdown"
My guardian angel continues to be on duty. I do not say that in a flip manner. With just three miles yet to hike, on the last day of this adventure, my rear axle breaks, locking up the back wheel. If it had happened five minutes earlier I would have been on a two-lane state highway crossing a dam with no shoulders, metal guardrails, and heavy traffic. If it had happened two minutes earlier I would have been riding down a steep hill, traveling at perhaps 30 mph. If it had happened when I had been riding at all, I might at the least have had an unpleasant fall. But it happens just after I have carried the bike across a set of really rough railroad tracks on a road closed to regular traffic. I am remounting to continue the ride, when the wheel locks. A short walk to a country club gives me a safe place to leave the bike for the rest of the day.
What seems to be a short section in a book makes for a long blog post. It goes on to explain how I ended up being taken back to my car by the chief of police, who treated me, covered in bike grease, with complete dignity and respect!
So I ended up hanging my Fuji Finest (a high end road bike 35 years ago) in the shed. I bought an entry-level mountain bike so that I could ride on dirt roads, and I've never regretted that decision. Yet, it was pretty tough to ride with anyone who had a road bike because mountain bikes are geared much lower. I just couldn't keep up.
Well, even the Finest is subject to the effects of time. See how the protective cover for the brake lever has deteriorated? Oh yeah, and there is dried grass stuck on the handlebar tape, probably from some small animal running through the rafters.
Can you tell how terrible this tire is? Compare it to the brand new one in the first picture.
So when I got home from this Ohio hike, there was a nice surprise waiting for me. Hubby Om had brought the bike inside, bought a new rear wheel and tire, cleaned up the chain, sprockets and derailleurs! Today was the first day that it was warm enough, and calm enough (as in not too windy) that I was willing to take it out for a ride. Wow! This bike has very high gearing. For those who know what this means the back sprocket is a 13-24. Practically, it means that if I can get my legs in shape again I can fly like the wind on paved roads. (These bikes aren't meant for dirt!)
The gearing is too high for real hills. Always was, I toughed it out anyway. I'm not so young anymore, though. If I wanted to head for the hills I'd need to swap the sprocket... not an idle threat to an old bike. I'd probably have to change the whole drive train... sprockets, chain and derailleurs.
For now, I'll just hope that the weather cooperates so I can get in a bike ride or two before winter shows up! I know this post is long, but I had to share.
See A Day on the Trail - Base Camping
See Diamondback Sorrento - Entry Level Mountain Bike my review of my mountain bike
See Books Leaving Footprints to order North Country Cache