The bike’s in the shop

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The other day when I was riding to work I was fiddling with the gears, trying out different riding patterns, and discovered that I couldn’t change into the highest gear on the back – the derailer wasn’t aligned properly. While I was fiddling I discovered that if I press to hard when changing the front gears, the chain slips off into the gap between the gears and the plastic guard around them, and jams very nicely.

And then to top it off, I noticed as I was close to work that the left pedal seemed to be a bit funny… at a particular point in it’s rotation it seemed to be, I dunno, on an odd angle, or shifting, or something. When I stopped and looked, I discovered that it was indeed loose, having worked it’s way out visibly. It was still attached, and not about to fall off, but clearly not in a good state. Not wanting to damage it [further], I rode with only the right pedal all the way home, alternating between actual riding – with a very haphazard one-pedal technique – walking, and coasting along on one pedal (which probably isn’t good for that pedal either, but, it’s survived thus far).

Anyway, I was a bit peeved… I think it’s a fairly obvious connection that the movers that reassembled it after shipping didn’t tighten the pedal enough (or, tightened it too much..). I figured, given it didn’t seem all that bad – just a bit loose – that I could just tighten it. So, this morning when I wanted to go out for a bit of a ride, I pulled out my toolkit – which is the third or fourth time in the last two weeks, so it was definitely worth bringing it over – and set about to fix it.

As it turns out, I tightened it first by accident, when I intended to take it off and check the thread. But I quickly discovered by doing that that it was stuffed – it was slipping in the thread quite easily. Long story short, when I did pull it out, it pulled half the thread with it.

Now, I’d expected the pedal to have been stripped. But, after cleaning away the grease and crap, it proved to be in perfect condition. No, it was the arm that was stuffed, and it was stuffed – almost completely stripped. It has the appearance of some nice shiny steel alloy, but apparently looks are deceiving.

So, I left the pedal off and rode down to the Evolution Bike Shop, the nearest shop, just down Stevens Creek a bit. They guys there were pretty good – all young, all running about fixing & tuning bikes and doing their thing. I was dreading how much it would cost, and how much would need to be replaced, but the arm costs all of about $7 (wholesale; $12 to me) and it’s apparently quite trivial to replace, so the labour’s $10 or so.

While I was there though I had them check out the gears, explaining the problems I’d had, and they quickly noticed that the “hanger” – the small metal bracket that connects the derailer to the frame – was bent inwards. Possibly during shipping, but I’ve had the same sort of problem (albeit to a significantly lesser degree) prior to shipping. I guess shipping just made it worse.

Anyway, as it turns out, that is the real problem – they cannot get a replacement; none of their U.S. suppliers sell them. Whether that means I just need to find one that does, or that there aren’t any in the U.S., I’m not sure, but either way it’s a real pain. So, they’re going to try to gently bend it back a bit, enough that they can adjust the derailer back into position. If it breaks, however, then the only solution – other than finding a hanger that fits – is to buy a new frame. Ah, no thanks.

So… fun & games. On the upside, the whole thing’s going to cost all of $40 or whatever to repair, so it’s not a big deal. On the downside, the arm they had to order probably won’t arrive before Friday, which allowing for time to fit means I won’t be seeing my bike again for at least a week. :/ And that’s assuming their supplier has it in stock…

So I guess I might start looking a bit more seriously at getting a car.

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