not exactly a boy scout

today I had to work late
today I had to work late and long
it was a long day
after work I felt as if I had to go for a short ride
wanted a longer ride... but had to get home to the family

got out of work promptly at seven
was on the bike and spinning by seven oh five
not only does the spring weather have it light later
but it takes less gear
less gear means less changing time
was out of the building while the whistle was still blowing

got out onto M Street and point around the city
there was all sorts of madness that I could not explain blocking up the city streets
I dipped in and out of traffic and up and down curbs
cut across some urban parks and slipped into the woods
went across town avoiding traffic as much as I could
ran a route I have run many times before

the gearing of the karate monkey single is set for dirt
so no reason to try and play superman racing the train
but with bummer to bumper traffic I passed the cars like they were standing still
because for the most part they were

as I crossed Conn Ave. at Cleveland Park I cut confidently infront of fast moving traffic then zipped a short cut through a circular driveway in front of a tall apartment building
when I fed from the circular drive back onto the main road I pushed the pedals forward and they spun without resistance
it was not a high tork situation that sends the knee to the stem and the groin to the top tube
it was just a resistenceless spin
I did not need to phone click and clack to diagnose my issue
I had snapped my chain
my chain lay coiled back twenty yards back in the middle of the road
with no momentum I turned around and walked straddling my bike as I bent down to pick up my chain
things were plenty clear and there was plenty of time to retrieve the chain
then as I walked to the side of the road a loser in beat up honda accord drove past and buzzed me in his car that looks like it was used at the smash up derby at the county fair
eye contact was made
no words were exchanged
no reason to insight a discussion with this troglodyte

I stepped off the bike and onto the sidewalk
without glancing at my watch I mentally timed myself for what should be an easy repair
almost cocky I confidently pulled my crank brothers multi tool and spare links from my bag
in a matter of minutes the chain was back on the bike and the stiff links were no longer stiff
the chain was a little long
but that did not seem that it would be an issue with the space remaining on the dropouts

went back to the bag and dug
then dug again
pulled a few tubes and a pump from my bag
then I dug some more
no 15mm wrench
a rookie mistake
no 15mm wrench
not even my surly jethro tool

there was no cussing
there was no frustration
there had been the consideration of calling home when the chain broke
but now it was time to just try and get home
I put the loose chain on the rear cog and the front chain ring
it flopped off
it was a frustrating experience
on again off again
I accepted that I could not pedal but to coast I had to have the chain in place

it was a quick ride or a short walk to home
I cut through the woods to make things shorter

while I coasted the final miles home I thought about the missing wrench and the broken chain
I thought about how the chain colapsed in a non tork situation
then I thought about all the times when I was seconds from a bumper
demanding, expecting, depending up on that turn of the cranks and the momentum created by the chain
I thought about the worst case scenario

not sure how or why the chain broke
just glad that the chain broke when it did
seconds sooner could have been a call from the hospital
or worse

got home a few minutes than I had expected
the family was finishing a late dinner
I joined them at the table
the boys told me the stories of their day as I ate what remained

then I took the boys upstairs for a bath where I typed this
the bath is almost done
they have been pretty good about not splashing
time for some bedtime stories about castles and pirates
perhaps with the assistance of the monkey puppet
because grant is sure to demand it
the story entertains dean while grant wrestles the puppet


NormLabrador said...

I feel your pain ...read my most recent entry on one of my blogs (http://normlabrador.blogspot.com/).

At least in the end all is well and safe.


Lyle said...

Sweet post!
Not sure what kind of chain you are using but a Wipperman track chain might be worth it if you haven't got one already!
Jealous of your Karate Monkey... I have an old steel frame that is just 2 rims short of being a bicycle. Well, 2 rims and 64 spokes short...

gwadzilla said...

yes... it is best to be prepared
and when I said I was going to call my wife
that was to give her a heads up
not to ask for a ride
if I were far I would ask for a ride
but I was close enough to walk/coast home before she could load up the kids in the car and snag me

and yes
I think that I should move to a "track chain" for my single speeds
as I am a larger than average cyclist

breaking a chain can ruin a lap time
even for a non-elite cyclist

time to lean on the kids to get dressed
time to start our day

need to sub in for the wife...
she is of course over achieving again

iconoclasst said...

Gwadzi, check out the KMC line of chains; after breaking SRAM PC 8 speed chains on my fixie, I moved to the KMC and it is BEEFY and UNBREAKABLE, even for a hamfooted leviathon such as yourself. They also make motorcycle chains--they know their shit.

This is what I'm running, and it's bombproof. Heavy, but hey, you want security, right? Golem-sized riders shouldn't worry 'bout weight anyway:


Cheaper than a Wipperman, I believe, and you will not break it, my friend.

gwadzilla said...

the KMC is a good call
that is what I have on my now retired Colonago franken-fixie (broken frame that I am sure to never get welded)

will have to order a few chains and have them for reserve

I was reading on BLUECOLARMTB Guitar Ted wrote a piece about cleaning and lubing a chain
spoke out agains SIMPLE GREEN
which has been my mainstay of degreaser for years
maybe part of my chain breaking woes

oh Spearmint...
congrats on the formation of the new team!