Friday, March 18, 2005

Tank the Crank

The Tank is acting out. The stress of being swapped for other bikes, getting stabled in new places and brought to his new home apparently are too much for him, and yesterday he snapped. He rode into work just fine, but when I started riding south to the CBF office to trade him in for the Hardrock and trailer, I discovered that he had defiantly flatted. Running late already, I just decided to ride on the rims for the mile to the office. The Tank balked and dug in his wheels to create the weirdest, jumbled mess I have seen from a flat tire.

Somehow the tube wiggled out of the tire and became hopelessly, tightly entangled in the cassette–plus a brakepad had somehow poked its way through the tube and was stuck inside of it. Everything was tight and basically fused together, preventing the rear wheel from spinning. On the corner of Washington and LaSalle I found myself with an immobile bike. The only option I considered was carrying the tank to the CBF office (why didn’t I just trot there myself, grab the trailer and go back to transport the wounded Tank to the office like a hurt man on a stretcher?). I crouched down, snugged my shoulder under his seat and hoisted Tank up for the mile walk to the office.

Damn–Tank certainly earned his name–that bike needs to go on a diet. My shoulder is still red from carrying him on this little trek, and feels sort of smushy this morning–I have a feeling that it is going to bruise quite uglily in the next couple of days. Tank’s hard seat bottom awkwardly rocking against my shoulder bone was none to comfortable. I’m sure this tender shoulder will make my final moving experience even more pleasant.

Anyway, I got to the office and a bike cop stopped to ask if I needed a pump or something. I told him that I would fix it upstairs, and that what was needed was a razor blade. He looked down to see what I meant and was quite perplexed by the ball of gears and tube. Upstairs we cut the tube out in about 8 pieces–there were also random tube chunks hanging out in wheel–just torn to shreds. I don’t really understand what happened–but it was a friggin’ mess. We should have taken a picture.

So now the Tank is hamstrung, and hanging with the other CBF bikes as punishment for his shenanigans. It seems like every bike I touch just starts to fall apart. The Hardrock is quivering in fear of what damage I will do to him in the next couple of days. Even on the ride to the Hbar last night he began fearfully squealing his brakes when he realized that I was taking him for another weekend.

Hopefully the Hardrock will stay in one piece long enough to finish the bike move tomorrow. The really big things are already moved, so I won’t have to wrestle too much with furniture, because my shoulder doesn’t feel up for that. I want to get everything moved on Saturday and then drop the trailer/bike rig off at CBF on Sunday after biking Gwen and Spencer to the bus station and sending her back to Minneapolis. I’ll be able to give Tank some TLC and explain why he couldn’t come along to Milwaukee for the FSC, why he couldn’t help us move, why he didn’t get to ride in the parade last weekend and argue the merits of our new apartment. I hope he will understand and make friends with some of John’s bikes.

2 Comments:

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

I've heard lots of stories about people riding flats, but I never heard of that happening. I guess I'll take a lesson from that one.

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Frick said...

I have a hunch that at some point between the "flat tire" and the "complete clusterfuck with pieces of tire in the cassette???" there were tell tale signs that something was amuck beneath you, and possibly, just maybe you chose to ignore these signs, stubbornly biking on regardless of how hard the cranks became to push, until the wheel simply stopped moving completely.

On the other hand, it could be worse. This past year at the Hawai Ironman a guy got hit by a motorcycle on the bike section. His front wheel wast torn in half. (As in his rim was now shaped like an "S" instead of an "o") He only had 8 miles left on the section, but no bike, so he picked it up and started walking shoeless down the hot road with the bike on his shoulder. He even ran in the last mile to make the time limit. Oh yeah, and then he ran a marathon.

 

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