Thursday, February 23, 2006

Strapped

I haven’t been on my bike since Thursday of last week. First, I was the lazy mon on Friday. The weather moved in over the weekend, and despite toying with the idea of a fixed gear ride in the snow, I didn’t go anywhere. Tuesday, I had a meeting downtown that required more driving.

But the kicker was Tuesday evening when I got home to discover that I was to drive Number One Son around the neighborhood, delivering meat from the FFA fundraiser. I hadn’t eaten. My stomach was rumbling, and there was half-a-ton of bacon and sausage assailing my nose. I was HUNGRY! And the tantalizing smell of smoked bacon only made me more cranky and miserable.

This morning I loaded the last of the boxes into my messenger bag. I had a few packages to deliver to co-workers. This messenger bag resembles a garage with a shoulder strap. It’s huge! But with all that space, there’s a tendency to overfill it to the point that it’s very heavy. This morning, I estimated it weighed about 25-30 pounds. I chose the Bianchi over the fixed gear. I really wanted lower gears!

The usual bike set-up includes an ancient Cannondale rack bag that I’ve had for at least 25 years. (Note to the Cannondale people: You made a good, durable product – perhaps TOO durable! This thing has seen so much weather; it’s faded from black to almost light gray, and it’s lasted longer than some of my bikes.) The bag carries my spare tubes, pump, small tools, rain jacket, and extra pair of gloves, as well as providing a good mount for another reflector and a blinkie.

Remember, this bag is old and one of the left side straps tends to come loose these days. So in order to keep it secure on the rack, I’ve started putting a small bungee cord across it. This morning I couldn’t find the bungee. So with only 3 straps in place, I set off for work.

One problem occurred immediately. The messenger bag was so full I couldn’t fasten the waist strap, so I let it dangle too.

Long habit had me do an ABC-Quick check at the top of the driveway. I’d checked the air before leaving the garage. The brakes both worked and the chain and crank set were fine. The quick releases were closed. I pushed off.

At a stop light about a mile from home, a guy in a pickup pulled up behind me in the left turn lane, rolled down his window, and yelled, “Hey! You’ve got a strap hanging down!”

I yelled back, “Yeah, I know! Thanks!” Sure enough, the strap from the rack bag was hanging down on the left side.

“No! The OTHER side!” he yelled.

That’s where the messenger bag strap was hanging. “Thanks!” I yelled back and waved.

The light changed and we turned left. I waved again as he passed.

Another two miles down the road, I looked down as I shifted and noticed something moving near my rear derailleur. Imagine my surprise at finding the ‘lost’ bungee hanging from the right side of the rack, dangling perilously close to the derailleur and rear spokes! Duh! That pickup driver must have thought I was an idjit! He’d be right.

Note to self: Do the ABC Quick check and look at BOTH sides of the bike! And do try to have at least one cuppa coffee before leaving in the morning. I’m really stupid before I’ve had a cup or two.

3 Comments:

Blogger hereNT said...

Always check the drive side no matter what. That's where most of your problems are going to come from, geared or not...

12:13 AM  
Blogger George said...

I'm dumber then you are.

I've done the same exact thing with a bungie cord only I wasn't so lucky as to NOT have it get caught in the spokes.

I felt it happen and I instantly locked up my rear brake which saved the wheel and flat spotted the tire.

Tires are cheaper then wheels so it all worked out okay I guess:-)

5:11 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

I left my messenger bag chest strap dangling once. Plastic hook catches a spoke (or something) and sudden tug on my shoulder makes bike control dramatically more difficult when it occurs at the same time as rear-wheel lockup. Hilarity ensues.

12:23 PM  

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