Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Bark: On yer bike!

Or not, as the case may very well be.

In an effort to shed some of the excess weight I've accrued over the last couple of years since buying a car, I put my bike back together about six weeks ago. Thanks to the weather since then, I've only managed to ride it a couple of times, and after a good four years in bits in our "garage" (an outdoor storage closet), I knew it had a few problems. This afternoon, I found out just how extensive they were.

A friend of mine at work used to be a mountain bike instructor, so I abduct him at lunch, ply him with bagels and Guinness, and get him and his tools to help try and take off the rather worn away bottom bracket, which is making the pedal cranks wobble so much you can hardly change gears. He was absolutely horrified by the fact I'd ridden about 12 miles on it at the weekend, claiming that it's far too dangerous to ride.

The first pedal crank comes off without too much of a struggle, but the second one is so corroded that it won't budge, and just strips the threads off the fittings. Not only that, it looks like the bottom bracket is starting to work itself loose, and might have damaged the frame around it. This means that I'm looking at around £60 worth of parts to replace what's too damaged to be salvageable, and if the thread in the bottom bracket is gone, I might as well buy a new bike. When you factor in the labour cost to replace all the gear that's knackered, it might be more economical to do that anyway - I don't have the tools to take out what's broken, nor to fit the new parts - so the whole thing is probably going to cost upwards of three figures at any rate.

It's not like the bike hasn't paid for itself, anyway. I bought it five years ago to save me the train fare to work (plus a 3 hour round trip, thanks to crappy connections, which I could otherwise cycle in less than an hour), and because I couldn't afford a car at the time. The bike paid back its cost in train fares in about 3 months, and I rode it about 60 miles a week for just over a year, so it's done a good 3000 miles, probably, so I can't really have any complaints if I have to buy a new one.

It's still annoying though, as I was looking forward to getting back in the saddle, too.

At least when looking for new bikes, I came across this:



It's the Rayleigh Chopper for the Playstation 2 Generation. How cool is that? I bet it steers like an oil tanker, though.
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