River path by onkelglocke from Pixabay

First Cycling Session For 2021 Gone Wrong

  • Adam Douglas

On April 6, 2021 at around 18:30 (6:30pm) I was getting my mountain bike ready for my first cycling run of the year. I setup the air compressor and turned it on. While waiting I washed the bike down as best I could and then fill the tires up with air. I then cleaned the chain and gave it some fresh grease (Purple Extreme). I hopped on my bike and gave it a good test run to make sure everything checked out okay. I didn’t notice any issues so I came back and grabbed all my gear, biking shorts, cell phone (track my progress), ear buds and filled up my CamelBak with water. I set my phone up and headed out into the nice weather, 13 °C (55 °F) with about 11 km/hr (6.83 mph) wind. At this point I couldn’t begin to explain how excited I was to head out and just ride letting all the worries wash away in my mind as I ride around the river trials. I find it so relaxing yet challenging from a fitness perspective. Last year I did just over 2100 KM (1304 mi). I haven’t set a goal yet but I think I’ll try to go for around 3000 KM (1864 mi) for 2021.

So around the last 20 minutes or so of my ride I started to head off the trail and back onto the road which I’ve done many times before. Well unfortunately this time around didn’t go so well for me. I went off the curb and landed, seemed fine but quickly I noticed things were not right. I hit the brakes hard, pulled over to the side of the curb to see what was going on. At first I couldn’t’ figure it out what was causing the drag and making it so difficult to move. Did I bend my fender or are the breaks jammed. After awhile of investigating I figured it was something with the wheel rim but wasn’t certain. Either way I had to figure it out at home and I wasn’t going to be able to fix this on the road. So I walked the last 20 minutes back home. I was really defeated and quite upset. The ride was going so well and it was so amazing and was looking forward to so many more rides this year. Once home I flipped it upside down to take a look at what was going on. I was pretty sure the rim was twisted but never dealt with this before until now. I spent some time watching YouTube videos to understand this better and how to fix it. I was excited to learn this is fixable but I need a spoke wrench in order to fix it. While this didn’t help matters so then I thought I’ll just contact my local bike repair shop. However things got worse to me in my head at this point as I discovered my local bike shop is not doing repairs on general consumer bicycles (non bike shop brands) due to world wide part shortage. I was even more defeated and was now looking at it as I won’t be able to ride my bike this year. I really got down and upset over this as this is one of the few things I do that allows me to relax and get exercise. I really got my self worked up focusing on the negative of this situation.

The next day my Son was over and he was looking at the bike with me. I was standing at different perspective and I could now see the rim was twisted and caused it to wabble. As a result it kept hitting the breaks and with body weight put onto the bike this amplified the problem. I figured I would try giving the bike shop a call the next day and see what they say. From what I know, it should require any parts to fix.

In the morning I called the local bike shop waiting on the phone for almost 40 minutes and finally was able to talk to someone that confirmed I indeed could bring my wheel rim/tire in to be repaired for around $20 to $30 CAD depending on damage without an appointment. This was amazing news to solve a problem that felt like a nightmare. I walked about 3 KM to drop off my wheel rim/tire and upon talking to the service tech I found out that the damage is far worse then I thought. The rim is not just twisted but has 5 broken spokes. At this point the cost of repair was adding up and I ended up just going with a new wheel rim because the cost was almost the same to repair and for how much I cycle I might as well get it. As I was waiting I walked 3 more blocks to get a haircut. After the haircut was done I figured might as well check-in at the bike shop to see if the work is done by chance. I was in luck, the job was done and my problem was solved. Granted it was far more expense then what I thought but worth every penny!

A couple of days later I attempted to put my tire back onto my bike however that quickly ended in frustration. Each time I would try to spin the tire it would lock up to the point it wouldn’t even turn. I’ve taken off and put on bicycle tires so many times with out issue. I couldn’t figure out what was so different this time around. Looking on YouTube was possibly two issues, spacer missing or bearings are compacting. I tried a few things but nothing seemed to work. This time around I would not be able to easily walk it to the bike shop due to the tire not turning. I was lucky enough to get a ride from my Son to the bike shop. Turns out they were missing another spacer. The shop did an excellent job fixing the situation and even tunning some things up for me. I was very pleased and even more pleased when I didn’t own anything extra.

This is quite an long winded story but the point of all this is we tend to always make a situation worse within our minds than what it really is. As a result creating stress, when in reality if one just focuses on the positive and take it as a challenge to resolve we would be better off in the end. As for the bike in all of this I learned, more about a bicycle, I was using the wrong chain grease (switched to using Muc-off dry lube) and that I will eventually purchase a spoke wrench for those minor repairs and regular maintenance.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100DaysToOffload.com.

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