Messing With My Bike

Whoo-hoo I yell out as the clock at the top of the monitor clicks over to 5:30, another ten hours of not riding done for another day. Someone laughs, someone yelps their own whoo-hoo, and a few groans come from the cubbys where people will be tethered for another thirty, maybe sixty minutes. Normally I would ease the back door closed behind me in order to hide my extremely punctual departure. Tonight though, racing out, I let the wind slam it in my wake. I almost whistle with the thought of what is ahead. No other standard weeknight gets me going like Tuesday does, night of the Ibis, and the Cross (CX) Town Loop.

Other than a little slow at the on-ramp, traffic on the 10 is moving fine. Once I make it home I even have time, or make the time, to say hello to the family.

After that though, it is go, and all thoughts turn to the ride.

As soon as the pedals begin their relentless turn it is clear that something is not right - chain rub and that awful clicking you get when the derailleur is not quite in gear. I shift a couple times to no effect, and so after turning onto the street I pull over to have a look. There was no problem when I rode the green machine last week, and I don't notice anything out of the ordinary now. Because of that I figure things can be sorted out as I ride. A couple turns of the road later, and a complete run up and down the cassette, both big and small rings, there is no improvement. "What the heck, what gives?" Confused, dejected, with a stirring of anger under the surface, I turn around and make my way, noisily, for home.

Is there any dejection more severely felt than the disappointment of a failed ride?

The wife, astutely noting the short duration of the ride, asks a brilliant [the anger has surfaced] question - "what gives?" 

"Someone's been messing with my bike", I growl. I start mentally ticking off who it might have been - the wife did something to it while getting hers out, the boy doesn't ride his lately, so I don't tick him off, but his friends are always over and I make a mental note of each one. Maybe the mountain biker across the way, or the roadie two doors down got in the garage, and I think (to myself) that they are both jealous of the Ibis. Now I think I am beginning to sound a little bit crazed. When the wife asks again, my "someone's been messing with my bike" is not as harsh as the first time. Still, she senses the accusation, and with no lack of certainty lets me know that no one has touched my bike.

Head hung and tail tucked I shuffle upstairs to change before heading out to the garage to figure out what exactly the hell is going on. After taking the chain off and putting it back on, checking alignments, pulling cables, adjusting derailleurs, both front and rear, lighting candles and chanting to drive the demon out, I finally notice the, seemingly insignificant, problem. Right there where the housing around the rear derailleur cable enters the black whatchamacallit; somehow a bunch of the little structural cables of the housing have been pulled completely out. How is such a thing even possible?

Well, after getting everything tucked back into the black whatchamacallit and readjusting the derailleurs once again, everything seems to be working fine. Tuesday's ride will become Thursday's for this week, so expect another whoo-hoo at 5:30 two days from now. To everyone I cursed, either in fact or imagination, I sincerely apologize, and let this be a mechanical lesson - sometimes it is not the obvious, big things, but the small, insignificant, easy to overlook things, that are the source of our misfortune.

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