Followers of my blog, as well as most people who really know me, are aware that I'm pretty fanatical when it comes to keeping my bicycles spotless and in good working order. Truth be told, I'm quite obsessive about it. I'm often teased — in a good-natured way — about this particular foible, but I can't help it. It's how I'm wired.
And I'm the same way with any vehicle I own.
Anyway, keeping all this in mind, I had an incident the other day that just about brought a tear to my eye. Going for a ride, or returning home from one, always involves a bit of shuffling of my bikes in the basement. I've got too many of the darn things in a tiny space, but I've got no one else to blame other than myself for this dilemma.
Here's what happened. As I was putting my Trek 2.3 bike back in its "resting" place, I hit the front wheel of my Specialized fat bike, which was balanced precariously against a stairway. To my horror, I watched helplessly as the fat bike — a heavy beast, by the way — suddenly came crashing down onto my light-weight aluminum road machine. I just couldn't act fast enough to prevent my silly mistake.
Initially, after checking both bicycles, I thought I'd come out unscathed ... thanking my lucky stars. But then I saw it; on the underside of the Trek's top tube. The brake lever on the fat bike apparently made contact, taking out a sizable chunk of paintwork and leaving behind a tiny dent in the frame. My poor bike — it's ruined!
But it's actually not. There's no crack in the aluminum. Sure, it's got an unsightly blemish, but it rides fine. I'm always on the lookout for topics to write about, but I would have just as soon skipped this kind of calamity. At any rate, putting things into perspective, it is just a bike after all. So I'll have to get over it.
In the recent past, I've written about the high demand for bicycles and parts, and how manufacturers — for various reasons — just cannot keep up with the bike boom. When we do receive any two-wheeled machines at Mathieu's Cycle, they are gone in no time.
I, myself, have been searching for bike components — mostly cassettes — without much success. It's not that I need them right this second. But with the predicted difficulty in obtaining anything at least through the rest of this year, and possibly beyond, I don't want to be caught short-handed.
I'm happy to report a solution, I believe, to my minor predicament. Searching online, I came across this business in Maryland called My Bike Shop. They offer most anything having to do with bikes, so I decided to give them a try.
My test run involved obtaining a part for my Trek Domane ... a Shimano 11-speed, 11-32 cassette. They didn't have it in stock, but said they would notify me — via email — once one arrived at their warehouse. Fast forward, My Bike Shop had the component in less than two weeks, and I received it only a few days later. And they didn't rip me off with the pricing.
Even their packing slip had a hand-written note, thanking me for the order, which won't be my first, or last, one with them.
'Thought for the day'
"A bicycle does get you there and more. ... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun." — Bill Emerson
From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)