Thursday, August 25, 2011

The High Cost of Riding Bikes: Money and Pride

It has been a rough and fairly expensive week of riding. It started with a weekend mountain bike ride. Though not great for long distances, Sunderbruch Park provides some technical riding with some decent climbs. Great for busting lungs and chains. I was cranking hard up a steep climb when I heard a metallic ping sound and the sudden spin of cranks with no resistance. The side plats had come right off the rivet. I have broken chains in the past but usually part of the chain goes flying. I was close to a walking path and decided to coast back to the car vs. spend 1/2 hour fixing a chain that wouldn't shift right because it would be short. I went to the LBS and it was determined that the best fix would be mediocre and since the Anthem X 29er is such a nice ride it would be sad to spoil it. It turns out that there is no such thing as an affordable option for a 10 speed chain. The best price I could find was $50.

Monday I took the Basso down Duck Creek Parkway with a nice addition of Wisconsin Ave, which is a nice stretch winding through corn fields for a total of 27 miles.

Tuesday morning brought a major thunder storm. It dumped rain so I decided to take good old reliable out for a spin that afternoon. I bought the Salsa Las Cruces (Spanish for "The Cruces") while I was in Iraq and it has been the most carefree bike I have ever owned.

I have ridden thousands of miles on it and all I have had to replace are tires, tubes, a seat, and the handlebar tape. I rode from the house to Duck Creek Parkway. The bike was a good choice because some sections had close to a foot of water on it. There was some mud on the asphalt in some places where dirt had washed off slopes so I took it pretty easy. There are a few places where the bike path intersects roads which have crosswalks and lights that change on demand. I had just crossed the road when a couple approached to front of me, I moved to the right to give them a little room when my front tire slid off the bike path. The slight drop coupled with the soft earth caused my tire to slide and I felt my body skid across the asphalt.

At this point I would like to briefly discuss Lycra. It has pros and cons.

Pros: Less wind resistance and does not flap in the breeze on long rides. Helps keep you cool by allowing for quick drying.

Cons: Not flattering unless you are sculpted out of the finest Italian marble. Tends to draw negative attention from small town hics and Southern rednecks.

I would suggest however, that it is very practical material and that athletes from many disciplines wear Lycra for its benefits. Here are a few:

Speed Skating


The Skeleton

And of course the most manly sport ever, football

However, there are some times when Lycra is not practical. Mainly when your upper thigh/lower buttocks are skipping across the pavement. I felt my entire left side become one with the ground as I heard the scrapping of my bike (still attached to my feet) for about 6 feet. Now, this is certainly not as bad as pulling a "Coop" or Hoogerland, but it still hurt. I quickly sprung to my feet, looking to my left an old lady nicely asked if I was "ok." The same came from the couple. Holding back tears I said in my most manly voice "nothing hurt but pride!"

But that was not true, the entire left side of my body hurt. I looked down and saw the redness of my shin. I was afraid to look at my thigh/buttock for fear of what I would find. My ankle was on fire and bleeding. I knew if I stopped for long I would stiffen up, so I made the climb home.

The cost:

1. My left Crank Brothers Candy, which was probably due for an overhaul anyway. Aside from the cosmetic damage, it doesn't like to spin and has a squeak. It may just need to be retired.

2. A shredded Salsa "Rasta" sock from 2006 (x-mas gift from Coop)

3. A scraped up Salsa "Rasta" rear skewer (brand new, never ridden before) which Salsa doesn't make anymore. I think it is just cosmetic but no one likes scratched up skewers.
4. A raging case of road rash on the upper thigh/buttock region. I will not show you a picture of that.

5. Pride. I don't have much left.

While it was a bad day for the Salsa Cycles Rasta motif, my Pearl Izumi Lycra survived unscathed (which is weird considering my flesh was not). My Specialized shoes got a small scuff, they won't die! If only my body was made out of the same stuff as my Specialized shoes.

I am going to ride the Great River Trail on Saturday to get some miles in. Hopefully I don't have the same problems.


  1. I hope your rearward gets back to it's normal color and shape! I liked the manly spandex football picture!