Today I got up early, left the newspaper on the kitchen table, and rode to a bike advocacy event. When I got to the venue, no one was there. I checked my e-mail. The event is next Saturday.
I felt stupid but I didn’t much mind. With snow and rain in the afternoon weather forecast, I might not have ridden outside today but for my calendar screw up.
It was my first time on Little Nellie in many weeks so I took it easy riding to the venue. The bike seemed to be resisting me the whole way. After realizing my mistake, I took a round about route back toward home.
Since the chain was moving sloppily over the sprockets on the cassette I decided to swing by my local bike shop on the way home to have it checked out. The mechanic put the bike on a repair stand facing away from me. As he checked the chain, the rear wheel turned. It wobbled from side to side. The rim was probably contacting the brake pad with every revolution. Aha!
The mechanic said my chain was long gone. My bike needs a new chain, a new cassette, a new large chain ring, and a rear hub overhaul.
The cassette and rear hub on this bike are of an unusual design that allows for a higher top gear. I don’t recall why I ordered this special hub and gear combination as I rarely use such high gears on this or any other bike. The special design also means that, in order to remover or install a cassette, a special tool is needed. And many bike shops don’t have one. Now that the wheel has 19,000 miles on it, I figure it would be a good time to replace the wheel with a conventional hub and cassette. This will give me a lower low gear and a lower top gear. Since the conventional cassette costs about $50 less, I will finance, in a sense, part of the new wheel’s cost by saving money on the new cassette and forgoing the overhaul on the rear hub.
So despite my scheduling snafu, I managed to beat the storm and diagnose some bike problems. Today’s ride goes in the books as a productive failure.