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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bouncing Bumbles and Taco'd Tires

6/05/2014 #217 48m
Oh, what a day. What a great day, I got to ride my bike.

Started early at the Bastille. Riding along the Jail Trail, someplace between Golden Triangle Bike Rentals and Bates Street, I put myself into a bad position that I needed to extricate myself from. I turned the front wheel hard over in an attempt to countersteer, then locked up the front wheel because I didn't have 'world enough and time', and I ended up in a situation where the bike was moving forward in a straight line at about 13 mph with the front wheel turned perpendicular to the direction of movement, with the front brakes fully engaged and the front wheel locked in place. This use of the front wheel as an airbrake or snowplow is inconsistent with the material constraints of a bike wheel, and it succumbed to the harsh abuse I was giving it and the wheel folded like a taco quite dramatically (and it was my fault).

This is the second time I've taken a major fall because I locked up the brakes on the front wheel in a deteriorating situation, and in both cases it was the braking and not the situation that led to my downfall. I might need anti-lock brakes. This was a really good wheel, that I'd spend major change on about 18 months ago. It's a tandem front wheel, 40 spokes. So bummed at ruining this wheel, I thought I'd get ten years out of it.

Anyway, I bounced off the Jail Trail (because: Bumbles Bounce!™) and after picking up the yard sale of bike paraphrenalia strewn around the crash scene, the logistical options were limited. We ended up putting my two panniers on Rusty's bike, and I started walking my bike (holding the front wheel off the ground) along the Jail Trail, intending to cross the Hot Metal Bridge.

After a while Rusty suggested, why don't you hoist your bike on your shoulder like cross riders do? (Excellent song title, btw) and that was an excellent suggestion. Kept hoofing until the Hot Metal Bridge, where I posed for a photo op.

Walked the bike over to a shop which wouldn't open for a while yet. Rusty and S departed to escort some cyclists out of town, and I settled in to wait for the store and bike shop to open. Happily one of the wrenches who was early saw me outside and got me a new wheel toot-suite and I was back on the mission.

Joined my buds at the Pump House, and we escorted some cyclists from Sacramento CA out to Boston PA.

Reversed and rode back into Pittsburgh. Was disappointed that at the Waterfront Costco, the gas station attendant waved us off as we attempted to ride on their lot (around the back of their building); he told us, 'you have to stay on the trail'. I was real sorry to hear that because I think when the cyclists go around the back of the warehouse, it's safer for everybody and presents fewer delays, but it's private property.

Continued northwest past Sandcastle. We got off our bikes and walked across the roadway at the Sandcastle back gate and got grief from a trucker in the road: I'm glad you people can read, most of you cyclists can't. I guess he had us to yell at.

Ended up at OTB. I had Tacos, in keeping with what happened to my front wheel. This was a great meal I really needed. Saw bike-buddy Andrew sitting outside. Discovered that the rack-mount eyelet had sheared off my frame and took a minute in the street to wrestle the rack off. The owner of an adjacent business took great umbrage at our presence in the street, in spite of the fact that there were four open parking spaces; apparently she had dibs on the one we were standing in, and felt that her dibs meant we should run away when she honked at us and edged her car into our space.

So I've been having a non-harmonious week with just a few drivers.

With my rear rack and rear fender now tied to my aero bars, started riding back to the North Side. Rode across Point State Park, saw enough congestion that I don't really need to be there again until after the Art Festival is over.

When we got back to the cars, I was beat. I'd fallen and bounced, I'd trashed a front wheel and broken parts of the rear of my frame. But it was a great ride and no significant injuries, we were able to adapt to the events, and my buds took good care of me. Who could ask for more?

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