15 June 2009

Murphy Days

Finally after more than four weeks of a forced break I was able to get on my bicycle again and do some shorter rides. Excellent, otherwise I would have died pf boredom or buttock soreness because of my home trainer. But I was not really lucky somehow. The following blog entries are describing some of the things that have happened.

JUNE 8 TH

The cast on the left hand is history now. But I have still no power to grab something, so simple and frequent tasks like holding a glass of beer can only be performed by my right hand. On the racing bike that means that I cannot shift or brake with the left hand. So I should be faster, right? Left: Riding with the traffic is a little bit risky so I take a spin along the Tsurumigawa close to my house and my favourite super short ride training ground. I am still a little bit shaky, but at least a start is made. I am slow as well.

JUNE 9TH

After trying yesterday I feel comfortable enough to make a mid-range ride into the beloved Chichibu territory. But first the wastelands have Yokohama have to be travelled. There's a lot of time available, I do not have a "mongen", nor an ambitious plan. So when I saw some excavators which are disguised as environmental friendly excavators I stopped and took a photo.
The gear shifting on my bike wasn't smooth at all but I am not that worried. From the main road I took a turn to the right where there is a small road with 10% plus of slope leading me to the local vegetable wholesale market. I got out of the saddle and started to put power on the crank. The next thing I heard is a noise like a tank is driving over my Cervelo bike - it cuted right through my heart.

What happened? I demounted from my bike and the sight is just plain terrible. when I shifted at the start of the slope into the lowest gear, the chain got stucked between the biggest rear sprocket and the spokes of the wheel. As the wheel still turned it dragged the rear derailleur from the adaptor plate which bended and broke. Then the rear derailleur moved further on and ended up entangled in the spokes of the rear wheel. It looked like this after I got it out from the wheel.
My first single speed bike, obviously. OK, so no Chichibu today.I decided to take the bike to Nagai-San in the evening and ride with my Bad Boy hybrid to Bic Camera in Yokohama to check out the new subnote lap tops. The Bad Boy is also a good bike for me right now: The hydraulic disc brakes do not require any power and the dampened front fork, which can be switched on and off, is giving relief to my left hand. The road from my house to Shin-yokohama is just spectacular.

No, this isn't a joke. It is possible to ride from my house to Shin Yokohama always entirely using low density roads along the rivers in the area. There is one particular part where the weeds on the road are almost a meter high but still there is a good trail of compacted earth in the middle to ride. And in the background one can see the UFO like shape of the Nissan Stadium.
Heiko introduced me once to this road and it became my favourite trail in the area. From there on it takes me only another 30 minutes to Yokohama. The subnotes are great and I decide to buy one the next day at Yodobashi Camera in Shin Yokohama as they have the better sales staff.

It has been a while since I have been to the Yokohama centre and since I am now a citizen of this town, I decided to ride around a little bit and explore the area. There is a nice canal with Yattai wooden boxes lined up on the side of the road parallel to it.
I decided to go there with friends when I have a chance next week.

Note : I went back the following week with Tina who is supposed to leave Japan after staying here eight years. I own a lot to Tina as she took me with her to many punk rock concerts in Tokyo where I saw fantastic bands such as Penpals, Potshots and Mad Three. I forgot my age and pogoed with the masses, sticking out from the audience like a light tower in the mob of 16 year old girls, approximate average height below 1.5 meter. My wife never understood why I had so much lipstick smears on the back of my t-shirts.
Conclusion : Every single of this Yattai is selling Oden. I like Oden ("Oden to the people") and also did you know that Japan is levying 1571% import tariffs on Konnyaku? One can get rich with Konnyaku smuggling I guess. But it is not the right food to say goodbye.

Then it happened: a flat rear tire. Of course I have nothing with me to repair the mess. So I must ride home by subway and return in the evening instead of handing my Cervelo to Nagai-San. Another spoiled evening, really unlucky to have two mechanicals in one day.

In the evening I returned with my bicycle repair kit (for the importance of bicycle repair kits I suggest you take a look at James in Japan). I have only one cartridge with me, a proud Positivo Espresso tradition which was invented last year in Izu. Of course there is a leak when I attach the cartridge to the adaptor and I have barely enough CO2 to fill into the tube. Somehow I make it home. Then I realize that I have another rear wheel tire. I check both tubes, find the holes (pinch flats) and repair them with a pro repair kit. After inflating them again, I find out that there are even more holes, also pinch flats at other locations of the tube. Why is that?

Anyway. Nagai-San has his weekly day off on Wednesday. I visit him on Thursday morning. Actually I thought that this could become an excellent opportunity to upgrade my bike to the new Shimano Ultegra. Do I need the new Ultegra : Yes definitely. I mean, just as Campagnolo, both wires from the levers are now hidden underneath the handle bar tape - an important advantage in terms of aerodynamics.

But then Nagai-San tells me the bad news: The sales for the new Ultegra only starts in mid July. Also I do not need only new levers and a rear derailleur, but also a new front derailleur, a new chain and a new crank set as the new Ultegra is not a standard compatible with everything else in this world.

So I ask him to buy me a 105 rear derailleur for the time being and fix the bike so I can ride at least for the time being.

Note : So I called him today (Monday). The rear derailleur is there but it will still take until Thursday to fix my bike. This is so frustrating.

After returning from Nagai San I take my Bad boy for another spin in direction Shin Yokohama. I arrive at the river and have another flat. What is wrong with my bike? Why do I have flat tires every 5 kilometers?

PROBLEM: My Cannondale Bad Boy Hybrid Bike [2005 version] has nice set of heavy Mavic wheels with many, many spokes. The fork is quite massive and it also has disc brakes attached at the front and at the rear. But the tires are just like racing tires, 700 x 23C. The idea is too use them in the city and to have another set of wheels with thick tires for exchange when going out into the country side. Both wheel types should fit with the same fork.

I normally ride it only in the city for shorter distances. It is too heavy for the mountains and the easting position and handle width is not comfortable for longer rides. But for the city it is fantastic. Good braking power, front fork with damper so it is easy to ride up and down the cobblestones.

I had no problem with the bike for almost four years. Then, about half year ago I changed both tires as they were pretty much run down. The front wheel is still doing fine, but I have one flat tire after the other on the rear wheel.
Normally I ride with app. 6 bars. When I check the tubes they are all pinch flats, sometimes even in more than one location.

I bought another tire for the rear wheel. I exchanged the rim tape inside the rear wheel and checked for sharp edges at the rims. I exchange many tubes. Still, more punctures.

Why is that?

Is there any logical explanation, accept that I hate Mavic in return their wheels hate me? That the bike is jinxed? That I am just plain unlucky?

[to be continued]

5 comments:

David L. said...

Michael:
The only explanation I could think of for your Mavic problems was some chance that my jinx with wheels had passed to you at some point when we were riding together, ...... but I guess not given my most recent experience on Odarumi.
Get completely well soon.
Best, David

mob said...

David,

Sorry to hear about the loss of your fulcrum wheels - that turned out to be a very expensive investment.
It also gave me some food for thoughts. I own now a much better bike (Cervelo Soloist) than before (Non-descriptive Cannondale) which cost about double.

But the amount of parts, components, wear and tear etc. I pay now for the Cervelo seems to be ten times as high as for the Cannondale. High performance gear is so much more sensible and so much more expensive.

I am really waiting for the feedback of Ludwig from his Al-frame Canyon Cheapo bike in Germany. If he thinks there is not sunstantial difference in performane, that will definitely impact further purchase decisions.
Viva 105.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Could it be that the problem is with the roads or paths you are cycling on near your house? Maybe lots of glass or other sharp objects somewhere strewn over the tarmac?

mob said...

I would agree that this could be a problem. On the other hand this week I went out to ride over Yabitsu and I had a puncture just before the tea house 100 (elevation) meter down from the top.

The holes in the tube are of "snake bite" shape and on the opposite side of the tire, so my guess would be that it has rather to do something with the rim or the rim tape.

I opened up another thread at the TCC to get some advise:

http://www.tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?s=fa6527459ddcc907dcdcd413991bdd75&t=1433

This is what the authority has to say on snake bite flats :

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/snakebites.html

I think a will try with a cloth rim tape first.

After visiting the doctor today I am now official allowed to mount my bike again and Nagai-san has outfitted the Cervelo with a 105 rear derailleur and new handle bar tape so I should be OK to ride even without the bad boy.

James said...

Nice to hear that your remounting is official.