I don't know how many of you have this issue but everything that could go wrong with my bike goes wrong. It is so frustrating and with my visual impairment, this makes things exponentially tougher. I will give a few examples so you can understand and maybe even relate to.
Last week I was super excited to get my new Wahoo Fitness Kicker Trainer which will be instrumental to my success on the bike. Little, did I know that the Trek road bike that I use purely on my trainer is from the prehistoric era and only has an 8 speed cassette. Nearly all road bikes these days have 10 speed on them but of course not mine. The Wahoo Kicker is meant for 10 or 11 speed cassettes and can work with 9 speed but of course not 8. Most would say well that's easy just put a 10 speed cassette on there and your good to go. Wrong, I swear nothing works easy with bikes especially tandems. So as a result I proceeded to lug my bike on multiple bus trips over to Redmond and then wander aimlessly trying to find my go to shop, Mr Crampy's Multisport. I had been there multiple times but never from the bus transit center. Then of course when you need Siri to come through she blows it. There is a KFC right next to the bike shop but Suri thinks the closest one was 11 miles. Since I can't see the street signs and Siri is losing my confidence by the minute, I turned to the old school style of "ask anyone you can even the homeless man." It never fails to work. I got there and dropped the bike off. I will then of course have to make my return trip to pick up the transformed artifact. I am sure I could tell a whole story about the return trip as well.
Just as I got home and was with a friend in the garage, he looks at my tandem and says "Dude, what happened to your wheel?" I of course had no idea about what he was talking about and then felt my back tire to find that it was like the State Puff Marshmallow Man ready to burst. The whole outer tire had split open and the tube was showing. I just rode it with no problems on Saturday and that tire didn't have many miles on it. I didn't have time to wait for more buses and take them to the shop. I also wanted RET to get outside for a bit so I do what any blind man would do and that is "Do whatever it takes to get the job done." With the back wheel in one hand and RET's leash on the other I took off running. As I ran with the wheel in one hand, all I could think about was how people on the street probably all thought I was a bike thief running from a crime. After all, don't most thieves bring their dog and wear running clothes?
My trusty sidekick and I ran with the wheel to the closest bike shop which is about 2.5miles from us. RET is finally beginning to be a good little helper dog and run consistently in front of me to let me know when there are curbs, signs or other objects in the path. Previously, he would run from place to place to stop and make his mark to the territory but he seems to have learned that there is a time and a place for that and running is not that time. We got to the shop and my arm was actually kind of tired. Its never ran with a wheel in it before so that could be the reason. Seventy five dollars later the tire was replaced and we set back on our return trip. The return trip could have been a nightmare when I headed toward a standard street crossing and there was a car blocking the crosswalk. I began to alter my route to run behind the car when all of a sudden the car began to back into me. I was sure this person would have seen me as RET's collar jingles loudly and I had a wheel in one hand. Just before she ran into me, she said something from her window and stopped. Close call but no cigar. I am kind of used to these types of close calls but normally they don't happen while running my dog and bike wheel :)
Those are the only things that went wrong on this day but just to give you a few more examples so you can fully understand how I have a curse. Prior to one race I did in Texas, I needed to get a shorter stem for the handle bars I hold on the tandem. One would think that this would be easy because these are the same types of stems that they use on standard bikes on the front. Again, not the case. It took months for bike shops and a close friend to find something that matched both the handle bar and seat post diameter. Have they ever thought of standardizing parts on bikes? That would be a very amazing solution to many problems.
One last exmple and then I will end this rant session. Three years ago before the NYC Triathlon, I shipped my bike out 13 days before the race via FedEx. It was supposed to be there in 4 days but when I got to NYC and tracked the status, it had the package in Portland, OR. So in 11 days the package had traveled a mere 3hr car ride. Needless to say I was a bit frantic and very irritated. Who did I call? Not Ghostbusters. I called the only person that could get this job done in time, Carie Goldberg. Yes, before I knew it I had the Vice President of FedEx calling me and assuring me that this package would be there to me by the next morning. Don't know what she said but she must have pushed the right buttons.
Well, I have plenty more stories that have made me question why I even ride bikes but those will have to wait for another time. Until next time, bike safely and be thankful that you don't have my luck with bikes :)