At the end of the day yesterday, I was cruising down 2nd Avenue at rush hour, and in the midst of traffic, I make the turn on to Jackson. (here)
In the middle of the intersection, my bike freezes up, I hit the ground, and I hear a loud bang! This all seems to happen instantaneously. The noise was so loud I thought someone had shot at me.
What actually happened is that my rim wore through, and the loud noise was the tube exploding when the tire pulled out from the broken rim. Unlike sharp-eyed and aware Jim Carson, I had no idea that it was in such a bad state. Just as he notes on his blog, winter commuting plays hell on your rims.
Well, so I pick myself up from the middle of the road. The bike is completely unridable – not only is the rim blown, but the resulting force taco’d the wheel. I limp to the International District Transit Station and call my husband.
While on the bus, I call REI, which I use as my LBS for this bike. Instead of someone I know, I talk to Random Bike Shop Dude, and tell him what happened. RBSD dude says, just bring my bike in. I say, you sure you can do it right away? Then he confirms with me, I just need the tube changed, right. “NO! My rim was destroyed! I need a wheel to be rebuilt! LIKE I JUST SAID!” He says, oh, well, just bring it in. I ask RBSD what his name is. He says that he won’t be there when I come in, but Kara will be.
So, David picks me up from the park-and-ride, and we drive directly to REI. David heroically carries my wounded bike into the store, and we talk to Kara. She leafs forlornly through the appointment book, and says that they might be able to get to it April 5. I am peeved, because RBSD said that could be dealt with right away.
Now, I have a very good relationship with the regular guys at the REI shop. I bring them homemade baked goods and six-packs of fine malted beverages. I treat them with deference, gratitude, and high respect; and in return, I get little perks, like discounts on repairs, and I get squeezed into the appointment book when they are booked out for two weeks.
But I don’t know Kara, and she doesn’t know me, and it isn’t like I’m going to pull a Mrs. Stanley Kramer (a story for another time) and say, in an imperious voice, “Do you know WHO I AM?” I do try, “well, Jim often will get around to a job for me when you guys are booked up”, but this goes no where with Kara, and I can’t blame her at all, because she doesn’t know me from Adam’s housecat.
So we call Sammamish Valley Cycle, David’s LBS, and the LBS we use for the tandems, and see what their schedule is, and sure enough, they can get it done by Monday, which is when I’ll be back from the cruise, anyway. David yanks the bike out of REI, we load it back into the back of the car, and motor off to SVC.
At SVC, they say they’ll rebuild the wheel, convince me to get slightly higher class spokes and a ceramic rim; replace the brakes since they need that, too; oh, and replace the front fender (oddly destroyed in this accident – not sure how exactly, maybe in the fall); and I authorize anything else that tickles their fancy, seeing how the spring riding season’s is more or less upon us.
Then David and I go out to dinner at Alborz, because after all that trauma, you could use a truly fine dinner and a date with your sweetiepie, no?
The end result: no riding today and for awhile – I’m really condemned to the stationary bike on the cruise. Dang!