Breaking News From Jack’s Bike Barn
This has been quite a week for me and bicycling-related events. Let me tell you a few quick but engaging tales.
Kinda Sad Breaking News
About twenty years ago, my brother Gregg and I built what we called “the internet bike.” For about a year, he and I had perused eBay and Amazon looking for the various parts and pieces that make up a bicycle: the frame, wheels, tires, gruppo (the drive and braking components), seat, seat post, headset, handlebars, crankset, pedals, and – whew! – so much more.I fondly recall sitting with Gregg on my garage floor, spending hours on the assembly. (This is the same Gregg who makes an appearance in my new novel, mentioned shortly.) Here’s a photo of our finished bike, built on a Cannondale-Saeco frame.
About 15 years later B.C. (Before Covid) I was spending a lot of time on the Left Coast, visiting my son Josh, his wife Jamie and my two granddaughters in Portland, Oregon, and my friends in northern and southern California. I had reunited with an Air Force buddy, Larry, and his wife Laurie in Sonoma County BFF (Before the Forest Fires) and the three of us were really having fun cycling. So as someone who owned five bicycles and couldn’t ride all of them all of the time, I shipped one out to Larry’s (on BikeFlights – phenomenal service and not very expensive either).
Which one should I ship?
The Cannondale, which I had fondly named Red Ryder. (Each of my bikes has a proper name.)
Eventually – in particular A.C. (After Covid) – it became impractical to spend that kind of time out West. Before long, three years had passed since I’d slung a clipless bike shoe over the Cannondale’s top tube. So a few weeks ago, it was BikeFlights to the rescue again. Red Ryder arrived at Bikeway Source, my local bike shop. It was still as beautiful and well cared for as ever.
I spent five excited, anticipatory days waiting for my Bikeway crew to get it ready to ride again. Then came the call: the Mavic Mektronic electronic shifting wasn’t working. My Red Ryder had become a fixie bike, refusing to shift out of third gear. I put it on my Park workstand and moved the chain by hand to the top, then to the bottom gears, but as soon as I spun the pedals the chain/derailleur jumped back to third.
The Mektronic system, as sweet a shifting system as could be, is old technology. My mechanic commented on how riding through a cellular dish’s zone could knock it screwy. Besides, what did three years of not being ridden do to it? I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.
Now it’s what to do about it. I can buy some of used components online, but would it be more practical to just get a Shimano gruppo? Do nothing and Red Ryder becomes a wall hanging.
Bright Breaking News
I’ve gone on far too long about my crippled steed, so in brief I want to let you know that next Tuesday, September 14, Bridge Across the Ocean, (check out the website!!) my bicycling novel will be published. We’re hosting a virtual publication party; by we I mean with Galen Mook, president of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (better known around here as Mass Bike) and you are invited! Please go to this link for a preview of my novel, then scroll down to the RSVP to get your invite to the Zoom party. I’d love to offer you a slice of celebratory cake but, well, you know . . . Anyway, I sure hope you can join us next Tuesday at 7:30PM, EST. I promise some interesting conversation, a video and a book giveaway!