Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back at it

I'm back on the bike and loving it.

Last Saturday I did my longest ride so far this year, over 16 miles.  Now by many standards that's not a long ride, but it was an accomplishment for me.  The good news is I felt good and probably could have gone farther.  The bad news is as I mentioned before, I had 3 broken spokes.

Monday I took the bike into Broken Spoke, a newer bike shop here in the Las Vegas area.  When I dropped it off, the gentleman said it should be done the next day.  Unfortunately when I called on Tuesday afternoon, there were still 2 bikes ahead of mine.  That meant the soonest it would be done is on Wednesday.  I wasn't thrilled, but could understand that delays happen.

My 2 concerns were that it be done right and it be done quickly since I hadn't ridden since Saturday.  I called Wednesday about lunch time and was told there was a problem.  Apparently they didn't have the right length spokes in stock and it would be another 2 days to order them.  I was obviously upset and wondered why this was when they had the spokes in stock when I dropped it off.  As the mechanic was looking t the order, he noticed that there were 2 different spoke lengths written, one with 2 of the numbers transposed.  He said he would do some investigation and call me back.

The next thing I know, I got a call that the bike was ready to be picked up.  To say the least I was very happy.  It meant I could ride Thursday morning, the first ride in 5  days.  I stopped by the shop on the way home from work and picked it up and all was well.

This morning 4:00 am rolled around and I got up and went for a ride.  I was feeling strong and very happy to be rolling again.  I had missed it over the last 5 days.  In fact, I felt so strong that I decided to try something I had not previously done - ride my entire morning loop with out down shifting on the incline.  Now its not a very steep incline, but it does add extra work, especially at my size.  I made it up to the highest point and started on the downhill and was feeling good.  I rounded the next to corners and carried a decent amount of speed into the ascent (OK slight uphill grade).  I made it to the middle of the grade and was still going strong, I kept pumping and made it all the way up and I wasn't worn out.  I couldn't believe it.

I was feeling strong and said to myself "you made it once, let's try it again."  i did and I made it the second time, then the third.  Then the fourth.  In fact I made it through 8 laps without downshifting.  Unfortunately at right about the 9 mile made I heard a thunk and noticed a wobble in the rear wheel.   I took it easy the last .3 miles home and looked to see that I had broken another spoke.  I was not happy.  First because I had planned on at least another mile this morning, and second I had another issue with the bike.

I pulled the wheel as  I was headed out the door to work and headed to the bike shop on my lunch hour.  When I walked in I talked to who i think was the owner/mechanic (wish I was better with names to give him his proper credit).  He let me know that he had hoped to catch me when I picked up the bike.  The diamondback comes with single walled wheels and for someone my size, with the larger wheels, a double walled wheel would be a better option.

My thought was maybe just replacing all the spokes might be a good option.  The information about the wheel flexing made me think twice about that option.  Besides that Broken Spoke said they weren't capable of doing the re-spoking.  The other shops in town changed at least $40 for labor plus the cost of the spokes which were between $1.25 and $1.50 each or 36 spokes.  I was looking at around $100 to get that done.  Broken spoke had a stiffer, double-walled wheel for $80.  That made a lot of sense. So I pulled the trigger and in 10 minutes was out the door with my tire mounted on my new rear wheel.

I won't make 5 of 7 days this week but I will ride 3 for 3 with a working bike!