Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A "New" Bike

bicycle wheel

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.

Fuji Finest bike tube

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.

bicycle brake leverWell, 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.

bad bicycle tire

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.

Thanks, Om!

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


samh said...

'Tis a fine steed you have there, Joan.

•°°• IcyBC •°°• said...

That's just wonderful! Congratulation of an old bike renewed..

Rebecca said...

A few years back my father brought home a 3 speed he had found at a garage sale. My mother was 79 at the time and was convinced that she could still ride a bike. She gets on it and does just fine making a circle around the yard. When she gets back to the house she starts peddling backwards... I knew she was now in trouble. My son and father yell "Brakes are on the handle". It was too late. She had the most gracious fall any of us have ever seen in our lives. Once she got back to her feet she stated with pride "I told you I could still ride"

Later that day my dad decides to ride it back to the garage. His fall was not nearly as gracious. He flew over the handlebars and looked exactly like he did after his truck had been hit and went airborne.

Neither of them has tried it since...thank goodness!

Secondary Roads said...

What a pleasant surprise. That looks like a fine bike.

free recipes said...

hohoho,,, lets bike to the road...

blackbery application said...

get a sport today with you :D

new games said...

simple and colourfull lifestyle

John | English Wilderness said...

I used to have a mountain bike and cycle all over the place. I'd think nothing of travelling 60-90 miles a day on the backroads. :-)

It's a shame I didn't have a camera back then :-(

Lin said...

I love to get out on my bike--you can get so much further in a short period of time. Happy Adventures, Sharky! Be careful--wear a helmet!!

Sharkbytes said...

Sam! Good to see you. How was your hike. I'll go see if you blogged about it.

Icy- Thanks for sharing my happiness

Rebecca- what a great story! Well, since I haven't had a bike with backpedal brakes since I was a kid I would have the opposite problem, I think.

Hi Chuck- I has sure served me well! I may be able to clean it up a bit, the fittings are all chrome.

John- You make yourself sound old. I don't think you are. But it IS a pain to bother with a camera when your goal is to be "getting somewhere" on a bike. I think it's much easier to take pictures on foot.

Hi Lin- Yup, I wear a helmet. Always... a couple of serious falls over a lifetime will convince one of the value really quickly!

Rick (Ratty) said...

I love bike riding. I used to ride a bike to work, just for fun. That was the first idea I had about getting out and seeing the sights. That was a long time ago now. I like my short hikes a little better now, but bike riding is still a good memory. And I think his post is a good length.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Ratty- Riding a bike to work is a great option, except when one has to be neat and smell good on the job. I pulled it off when I lived in Ann Arbor quite a bit. My first love is the walking, biking is probably second. Hubby is 98% biking and 2% walking when unavoidable!