Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why I Hate Cycling

I don't actually. In fact, I love it. But I do hate bikes.

More specfically, I hate bike ownership. It's fun to see all the new bikes that come out, and to covet something newer and shinier than whatever you already have. But once you own the bike, the problems never end. It could be that I've just had a tremendous run of bad luck. Or it could be that I'm overly sensitive to mechanical problems. But it seems that once you have a bike, things start breaking. And then it seems to get to the point that you can never just go out and ride because you have to patch a tire, replace a chain, fix a spoke, etc.

Obviously, broken is not a bicycles default condition. As long as I'm reasonably diligent about maintenance, my bikes are usually in good shape and ready to ride. It's just that when something breaks at an inconvenient time (is there ever a convenient time for something to break?), the experience sticks with me.

The reason for this post is a busted disc brake on my mountain bike. While I was lubing the chain and inflating the tires for a ride with Sean tomorrow morning, I noticed a rasping from the front brake. As I tried to figure out what the problem was, the brake seized completely. It turns out that there's some loose piece of metal in there jamming things up. I can't tell for sure, but I think the problem will go away with a new set of pads. But for now, the brake is unusable. Which means that instead of going to bed at ten I've been up trying to swap brakes over from another bike so I can ride tomorrow.

I've got that problem taken care of, but now I've noticed a loud, occasional pop coming somewhere from the front end. I can't tell if that's a sign that something is about to break on me, or just that a new sound is about to drive me crazy. And early this week the bike was out of commission because the wheels were knocked out of true and the bearings in my front hub were loose. With bikes, if it's not one thing, it's another.

Mechanical issues were one of the main reasons I switched to running last year. But then I discovered that mechanicals happen there, too. They're called injuries, and you can't fix them nearly as quickly or easily as a you can a broken bike.

I won't be complaining when I'm on the trail tomorrow morning, but for now I want to cry about it.

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