Light at the end of the shuttle bay

If I ever offer to work on your bicycle, I advise you to decline, no matter how desperate your situation.

If I ever offer to work on your bicycle, I advise you to decline, no matter how desperate your situation.

Oh, lawd, it’s been a busy ol’ week around El Rancho Pendejo, what with deadlines, Herself jetting off to the Twin Cities for a conference, and the Elly May Clampett Memorial Critter Farm to feed and water.

Still, could be worse. Could be hailing.

Meanwhile, in honor of Bike Month, we might be trading Herself’s 2002 Subaru Outback in on a 1979 AMF Roadmaster after the fine folks at Reincarnation advised us that the only item still functional in the sonofabitch is the cigarette lighter.

I dropped the stuttering, groaning monstrosity off there bright and early this morning for what we had hoped was only a timing-belt replacement and cycled back home, but not without incident.

First, a bit of backstory:

It’s been raining lately, probably because I took the fenders and rack off my Soma Saga. I put them back on for this little outing, with the help of an English muffin and not nearly enough coffee, and added some Arkel Dry-Lite panniers to fetch along a bit of foul-weather gear because, well, look at Bibleburg, f’chrissakes. You never know.

Anyway, I roll away from Reincarnation and almost immediately the Saga’s drivetrain starts acting out. This never happens because it’s one of the simplest mechanical devices known to man — Silver friction shifters commanding Shimano derailleurs (Ultegra front, Deore rear) and a nine-speed cassette. But here we are, limping along on impulse power in the Diesel-Airhorn quadrant, an easy target for any Klingon bird of prey (F-150 model).

Shit, maybe the Outback’s cooties got on it, I thought as I lurched up onto a convenient curb for a quick look-see. No obvious defect presented itself for correction, so I remounted, gave the rear mech a couple of light kicks to knock it into a serviceable position, and rolled off in a gear that was just a little bit too small or too tall, depending upon which chainring I was using.

I’m not fussy. What I am is lazy.

Also, and too, dumb. Derailleur problems one may remedy with a bit of skill and the proper tools, but stupid is forever, the gift that keeps on giving.

How dumb, you ask? Well, after lurching up to the top of the bike-ped bridge across I-25, I paused to swap my leg warmers for some knee warmers. And hey presto! As I’m pulling the latter from the drive-side bag, I notice that some fool has clamped the rear rack onto the rear derailleur-cable housing.

For once I actually had a minitool in the saddle bag, and with a couple twists of the wrist warp speed was restored. But I canna say I felt much like Montgomery Scott.


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15 Responses to “Light at the end of the shuttle bay”

  1. Charley Says:

    It only gets worse with time, you not the bike. Sorry.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Only thing worse is a rental house next door and the occasional renter from hell.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Only thing worse than a rental house is a rental house an hour away.

    Clamping the rack to the derailleur housing ain’t so bad. Some day I’ll tell you about the time I dropped a pencil into the cylinder of a Honda 450 while trying to adjust the valves after a graveyard shift. That, of course, required removing the engine from the frame and breaking the overhead cam chain, etc, etc.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Only thing worse than a rental house an hour away is two of ’em six hours away.

      We need to pony up for a little concrete work in the backyard at Chez Dog and some medium-light landscaping at The House Back East. I really wasn’t planning to add an auto purchase to the debt load. Bloody ‘ell.

      I’m having the scooter shipped down in a couple weeks. Maybe I can make that my daily driver and pass the Forester over to Herself. Yeah, right. I get a bad enough case of The Fear with four cylinders and four wheels in this burg.

      And it ain’t like you can bunny-hop a Vespa onto the sidewalk when some befuddled F-150 pilot reaches for that second six-pack on the passenger seat and drifts into your lane. It’s fun, but it ain’t no Vincent Black Shadow.

      Pencil down the cylinder, hey? How Freudian of you. As George Carlin once said, “You don’t have to be Fellini to figure that one out.”

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        What you need is a flat black Hayabusa and a helmet with a purple mohawk glued to the top. Tote that Model 19 openly on your hip while riding, and the F-150s will give you a wide berth.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        When I moved to Tucson back in March 1980 one of the first things I saw was an outlaw biker thundering down Oracle with an assault rifle slung over one shoulder. Surely does focus the attention.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ll have to research Freud. At the time, it just seemed really stupid in retrospect. Coulda gone back to the dorm for a screwdriver and saved myself a lot of money and embarrassment.

        You find a Vincent Black Shadow in good shape and I will be at your house with a checkbook….wow.

        My stepdad, the Chevy machinist, rode all sorts of moto back when he was young, which is where i got the addiction. He was a kind of a Wild Ones in his youth. Dropped out of school in the 8th grade, hopped trains, rode Indians, Harleys, and the like. He had calmed down slightly when he married my mom, but eventually bought a Moto Guzzi Scooter and then a BMW R60 (Earles Fork), crashed that with some help from an idiot in a Buick, and then got some big Japanese Iron. Gave it up about ten years ago due to osteoporosis.

        Taught himself literature–Meena, the English Professor, was amazed at the stuff he read. But I do recall the day we went hunting on the BMW and were seen riding down the country roads with a Winchester over his shoulder (along with a Mod. 27 in 357 Magnum on the hip) and a Springfield 30/06 over mine. Nowdays that would constitute a national security crisis….

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    The rental situation down here has gotten to the point where we are seriously considering a gated, 55 plus, and “waiting to die” neighborhood across the road. But my better half is out of town, so my mood is dark, and probably will stay that way for the next 12 days.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yours ran away from home too, eh? Mine’s already shopping for Priuses. Priuii? Whatever. I think I smell my retirement account catching fire.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Yep. We decided to split the obligations this year. Sandy is spending 12 days with her parents and sisters. Parents are getting up there in age, so they get a pass. Siblings, well not so much. Then in June, I am heading to good old Waukegan to attend a nephews first wedding. I can’t talk my brothers into coming down here, even in winter. Go figure.

  5. bromasi Says:

    Hey I just read on the tubes that Jobst Brandt has died, best wheel builder book ever. R.I.P.

    • Debby, south of Longtucky Says:

      Very sorry to hear this but I see he was 80 years old and it sounds like he lived a full life. I agree, great book. I used it to build several sets of wheels for various bikes over the years. All turned out great. Still have the book on my bookshelf. RIP Jobst.

  6. Libby Says:

    So you didn’t feel like Montgomery Scott? What about Zachary Scott? This actor got his screen start at Warner Bros. and often portrayed suave and scoundrels. Scott’s most famous role was “Monty Beragon”, the raffish boyfriend and husband of Joan Crawford’s, “Mildred Pierce”. Great, great movie.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    Rear rack clamped to the cable housing? Geez, forget what I wrote about the workbench. Reminds of a client awhile back who complained his brakes were locked up…only to find he’d clamped some gizmo to hold some electronic gizmo to the handlebars on our rental bike – OVER the brake cables….@#$%^&~! was my response as you might guess. For some tools are like handing a loaded machine gun to a five-year-old child.

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