Zen and the Art of Wrecking Shit.

Is there anyone else out there who is always breaking stuff? Stuff is also so damn expensive nowadays to boot.

I just seem to be real hard on stuff – It doesn’t matter what kind of stuff, I’m hard on it. Drivetrain stuff and wheels/tires stuff especially. It’s seldom I can go for 3 rides in a row without *something* failing and sometimes in a spectacular fashion.

It used to be that I’d take a sort of grim glee, or pleasure if you will, in the ruining of the parts. Then I would suffer the buyers remorse in the purchasing of the new soon to be ruined parts. All of these conflicting emotions were of course followed by the need to remove and replace the old completely ruined parts. Also, as a sort of side note, let me assure you these parts were ruined. Utterly, completely and beyond the point of any sort of usefulness. I think it’s because I need to get my moneys worth. I need to extract my pound of flesh. I would then enjoy the time I spent fixing and complain, but not too loudly, about the cost of the parts.

Usually buying new parts was always a cool thing. You’d be able to wangle something more better than what you had by telling yourself that it would hold up longer in addition to being lighter and cooler as some kind of strange junkie justification that lighter and more expensive really means sturdier and longer lasting.

It seems though, as the years go on I’m seeing an odd thing happen. I don’t want things to break. I don’t want to spend the bulk of a Friday afternoon trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear because while fixing one thing I discover another. I just want to ride.

For instance just this last Friday I noticed my rear wheel was once again out of true. it was a new wheel that I had just built with maybe 3 or 400 km on it. It had been a while since I built a wheel and the rim I used was not by any great stretch of the imagination what you would call top shelf. I just assumed that the combination of those two factors were to blame and another good truing or two would seat those bad old spoke nipples and more or less see things through.

After one or two quick turns with my nipple wrench,  I know it sounds bad, I found myself listening to the sound of escaping air. You know, like when a tire is going flat. While my mind was trying to figure out why this was happening… I mean it’s not like I just jammed a knife into the sidewall or anything… I also got to hear some loud snapping noises. None of this was computing. I felt bewildered, how could tightening a loose spoke cause this sort of mayhem?

It was my budget rim. Cracked clean through a large number of nipple holes. I was instantly sour. The sort of sour you feel when a barking  neighbors dog wakes you early when you are trying to sleep in on a Saturday. I cursed the budget rim loudly and at great length with several choice and usually (carefully) reserved words and phrases taking pause only momentarily when I ran out of breath. It was in fact such a rare lather I had worked myself into that my wife actually looked up from the tv and said “What’s the matter?”. Usually when I’m ‘fixing’ she just ignores any foul language.

Now I would have to put the old, less than desirable rear wheel back on which was on it’s last leg when I replaced it,  but not before I had to spend an afternoon piddling with it so I could get in a few more rides while I built the new one.

While I was changing the wheels around I could not help but notice the missing teeth on the largest and second largest sprocket of the cassette, and the fact that the rotor and rear shoes were pretty much toast as well.

How can a 15 minute wheel truing turn into $400.00 worth of parts and two or three afternoons of fixing when you could be riding?


Keep the lube on your chain!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *