August 5, 2004 by Allen George
My Bike And I
We have a troubled relationship – my bike and I… I bought my bike here for $50 from a used bike store. I would have splurged a bit more had it not been for two major factors:
- I had only $50 in ready cash, having not received enough paychecks from Qualcomm. Rent, the security deposit and groceries ate up my first paycheck.
- I needed a bike because I try to get to work around 8AM. So, for the first few days, while everyone else was getting a ride at around 9:30, I had to walk.
Its a long 40 minute walk
Having tried the bike out at the store, I was reasonably satisfied with it. Seemed steady, in one piece, no weird noises, shifters worked…so I bought it. Ah…I remember the ride home with Phil down I-5. We were probably the only Z3 with its top down, transporting a bike that most commuters would ever see.
The problems started soon after.
The following day, while riding to work, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder for me to pedal. On getting off the bike, I realized (in horror) that this was caused by my bike seat pivoting upwards on its nut. I tried manhandling it back into position and leaning forward – but this merely delayed the pivoting by a few seconds. Imagine how it feels to have the pointed end of the front seat jamming into your crotch… Needless to say, I walked the bike to work.
I tried to fix the problem by wrenching the seat as tightly as possible and sitting with my weight forwards – but nothing worked. Finally, out of pure frustration (and being a cheap bastard wrt. the bike) I simply turned the bike seat around. That worked. Since the wider part of the bike seat faced forward, I now slid forward (into the bike) instead of upward and off. This I could handle…
Approximately 2 weeks in, I had to do an emergency stop. Yeah….’stop’. I ended up using the patented ‘feet friction brake’. Turns out that the back brakes were less than spectacular.
Pssst….they didn’t work.
Closer investigation revealed that the brake pads may have been worn down to the nub. Imagine me finding this out. Now imagine me not caring anymore. I had no wish to spend any additional money on this bike and decided to run as long as I could with the wonky seat and non-functional brakes.
Then sometime ago, the rear derailleur ‘misaligned itself’ (probably because I jump curbs on the way home) and I was unable to every reach the rear sixth gear. At around the same time, the kickstand started coming loose and the bike would never be able to stand quite straight….preferring to fall over whenever possible.
The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred yesterday. As I was biking home, I noticed that I was expending an inordinate amount of effort biking. Took a look down and realized that the tire was flat.
I don’t think you can understand the level of frustration I experienced. It was all I could do to keep myself from bodily flinging the POS on the road. But…I endured.
And cursed the bike all the way home.
Today morning however I decided to take a serious look at all the problems and delayed going to work for an hour as I pumped air and made serious use of various wrenches, allen keys and more.
At least the bike’s not falling apart anymore…