Ride Home 5/17

Sometimes fixed isn't really fixed and that's especially the case when I'm both doing the fixing and determining whether the fixing has been sufficient. This long lead up is one way of saying that my front derailer was still inoperable when I left work. The effects of such weren't especially impactful, though it did make my going downhill a bit slower, but perhaps for the better. It was a tripartite trip home (Werboczy what up), that both saw me stopping to feed an out-of-town colleague's cats and at the bike store for some "routine" maintenance.
The cats are quite large, but otherwise unremarkable. Maybe I'll take some pictures and post them for those of you who love looking at cat pictures. Maybe then you'll vote for me at some random bike blog contest. Bikes! Cats! It's Tails From the Sharrows!
I stopped at Revolution Cycles, where I had previously "successfully completed" a bicycle and repair course. I figured I would check in with the ol' teach and measure my amateur diagnosis of problem (which consisted mainly of me pointing at my bike helplessly saying "problem") against his professional assessment. I'm pretty sure he said that it was ok for us to do this, though he might have meant it for circumstances beyond the very most basic repairs that a successful completion might indicate I could handle on my own.
I introduced myself with the caveat "I don't know if you remember me, but..." and he said that he did. I guess you never forget the first student that you compromise your standards for in order to pass them. I explain my thinking about the problem "The cable is loose. Is it a problem with the shifters or is it because the cable 'slipped'?". He lifted the cable and pulled the shifter and the cable pulled taut
"Not the shifter. It's just the pinch bolt."
Pinch bolt! That's definitely the name of a thing on my bike. In fact, it's definitely the thing that holds the derailer cable taut. At this point, I had a multi-tool in my hand, though I was cradling it a bit secretively, like one would a shiv. My using it would probably be the same as shanking my bike. The mechanic instead would casually to his allen wrenches, loosened the pinch bolt, pulled the cable and tightened it. I asked if there's any reason that it might have slipped. Maybe because of the weather? (This is a highly self-serving question, meant to highlight that I, unlike others, ride my bike in the rain and whatnot). No, it's not the weather. It's just something that happens sometimes and I should keep an eye on it. Oh.
I once again had access to my large front chain ring. However, the cable was pulled incredibly tight and shifting to the larger ring required considerable effort. Like a really old, first-generation submarine. Small price to pay, I guess.
This is what the traffic around the Key Bridge looks like at evening rush hour:
Everyone had a red light
Like you probably, I exclusively use Red Top Cabs for my taxi use in Arlington County. This is in part because Blue Top Cabs (boo!) employs at least one driver who was a total jerk to me at cut me off to turn right from the middle lane across the bike lane. He even had fares inside, which seemed doubly irresponsible. I didn't really feel like flipping him off, in part because of the fares and in part because it was just so predictable that he was going to do it, so I gave him something of a papal wave instead, where I raised my hand and shook it gently in his direction, tsking him with my knuckles. I don't think there's a braze-on for a crosier.
My wife apparently saw me when I was riding past the Clarendon metro. I guess I looked earnest, which I suppose is a good thing.
The Gitane was once again locked outside of the George Mason Law School. I got a picture this time.

No rain for the entire ride, so I feel pretty lucky. Another bike to work day tomorrow and I hope that I see as many people on the road as I have the past few days.


  1. I voted for you, just so you know, and I encourage everybody else who reads this fine blog to do so as well.

    A stiff shifter is sort of like typing on an old stylee manual typewriter vs a computer keyboard (although a really well-adjusted shifter should just require a flick of the fingers). Ooh! There I go again with the old-foegyism!

  2. There's nothing wrong with fogeyism! With bar end shifter, it's never just a finger flick, but this is a little too much. I'm likely to pull a muscle.