Monday, July 16th, 2007
3:12 pm - Annoying, Expensive Weekend...  
Actually, Saturday was mostly okay. I took the bike down to the shop to have the new derailleur swapped in. Wonder of wonders there was no line of customers out the door this time around. Bikeshop!guy did the switch in about ten minutes while I chatted with Mrs. Bikeshop!guy as she assembled a mountain bike. He took the still-almost-new old derailleur in trade for the new one, and didn't charge me for labor either, so I bought a backup tire tube and a new pair of bike gloves (on clearance for $5!) so I could pay him for something. <foreshadowing>I should've bit the bullet and bought a bike computer, too, but I didn't.</foreshadowing>

I drove home via backroads, just for the fun of it, and discovered that most of one of the roads shown in my big book of Rhode Island and nearby MA and CT town maps doesn't actually exist. According to the book, Punchbowl Trail should extend eastward from Glen Rock Road all the way to Carolina Nooseneck Road. Instead it makes a hard left a third of the way along and becomes Small Pox Trail. (Side note: Half the fun of driving the back roads is the names of some of them$mdash;Small Pox Trail, Purgatory Road, Hog House Hill Road, etc.) It must have once existed, because there it is on the map, but damned if I can find the western end of it. I did notice what must have been the eastern end of it at one point, when the road took the hard left, but I took it for an old dirt driveway. When I got home I checked Google maps, which doesn't show the road, but the satellite view does show a linear gap through the forest where the road ought to be. It's a mystery. There are a lot of little mysteries like that on RI's back roads. Gardiner Road, for example, heads north through the woods, dead ends, and then picks up again a few hundred yards further along and continues its merry way. Was the road never completed? Did someone plant trees across the road as a traffic calming measure? Very strange.



I took a long ride Saturday evening, and things started to go downhill. The bike is fine, especially now it has a normal derailleur. I did find I'd gotten accustomed to reverse shifting, because I did occasionally shift the wrong way, but when I didn't think about it, my muscles always got me into the correct gear. I can double shift again, too! The only complaint I have now is the saddle, which is taking its time breaking in, much to the annoyance of my rear end. The other thing that was bugging me was the cheapo bike computer. Apparently it was created in a universe where time passes more slowly than in this one. I noticed that my trip times were incredibly good since getting it. My average speeds were a good 2 mph faster than they had been on the old bike. Some of this I attributed to the new bike, because even on the old computer the times were faster, but still, that's a LOT of improvement. Now, I had just gotten the adjustments on the bike squared away, so maybe it was just a matter of man melding with machine to form a more efficient whole, right? Nah, I didn't think so either.

I checked the mileages, and they matched up pretty well with both old computers, so the cheapo was calibrated correctly. If something was awry, all that left was the timer. I mean what are the odds that an electronic clock won't keep reasonably good time? Sure it's cheap, but I'm not looking for Accutron accuracy here. As I set off on my ride, I also started the stopwatch on my watch. Sure enough, the timer is off by a huge amout. It loses about 6 minutes or so an hour! No wonder my times were so good. It was way short. Sigh. Now I need to write a strong letter of righteous indignation to the folks at Bell Bicycle Accessories. I went back and adjusted the times of the previous rides based on what I measured, and the times, while still very good, are much more in line with my present abilities.



Sunday, I picked up a different brand of bike computer than the cheapo. It was inexpensive, but has way more functions, not that I'll ever use them. Do I really need the bike computer to tell me whether I'm accelerating or decelerating? It was also a pain to install, because unlike every other bike computer I've ever seen that used mounting straps with screws to attach the sender unit, meaning that it's easy to adjust and snug up if you get it wrong the first time, this one uses cable ties which aren't adjustable and a pain to tighten up in the first place. They didn't mention THAT on the box. Feh. The worst part is I once gave one of these to someone as a gift.

I did get it on and adjusted to my satisfaction (thank goodness for needle-nosed pliers), and I also swapped saddles with the old bike to give my butt a break. I carried the bike out to the truck for a trip down to the bike path. It was pretty windy, but the sun was out with no sign of the predicted showers. As I pulled back the vinyl tonneau cover on the truck bed, I managed to pull too hard on itm and tore it along the seam where it seals to the framework. Motherpussbucket!! Pretty much unrepairable, too. It ripped right along the stitch line. Then, as I examined the damage, a gust of wind knocked over the bike. I took that as a sign that I should just hole up for the rest of the day. No sense tempting the fickle ferret of fate any further.

I'm very much annoyed about the failure of the cover. Yes, it is five years old now, but it's rarely seen the light of day until this past month and a half. Mostly I installed it when I helped folks move. I should just put the lid back on, but I still want to get that frelling shed with its two huge boxes. I was able to find and order a replacement for just the vinyl cover, so the damage only sets me back $70 instead of $225 for the cover plus framework. I guess that's something.