A trying week on the road

Reason #1 not to stand on the pedals when riding: you never know when one will break clean off.

A three-finger tear in a tire can't be fixed with a piece of duct tape.

I’m not superstitious, but I had a seemingly endless run of bad luck on the road over the course of a week. Of the five days I rode, I had equipment or brain failure on four of them:

  • Thursday brought a flat tire at 9:30 p.m. Later investigation showed that the culprit was likely a couple of burrs on the edge of the rim. It was scheduled for replacement before the winter anyway, so I guess this was a good way of reminding me to make a trip to the bike shop.
  • On Sunday afternoon, I wiped out on a pile of wet leaves while going downhill with a firm grip on the brakes. Predictably, the front wheel locked and slipped out to the side, slamming me to the ground. It’s the second time I’ve crashed in less than a year, and by far the hardest I’ve gone down in a long time. Nothing broken beyond my pride, but my arm is still smarting from the bruise and road rash. I was also reminded why I wear a helmet: not because it’ll save me if I get hit by a car, but because I come perilously close to knocking my head on the ground without any help from right hooks or door prizes.
  • On Monday night, the tube that I’d replaced after Thursday’s flat tire blew out with a bang on the way home. The tire was destroyed, with a 3-inch gash torn in the sidewall just above the bead. In retrospect, the weakened tire had probably already contributed to Thursday’s flat before finally giving out entirely. These were virtually new tires, installed just this past spring and with only about 2500 km on them. A previous set of the same model lasted about 12,000 km before also succumbing to a blowout.
  • By Tuesday, I was paranoid enough to run an important errand by TTC instead of taking my bike. The errand was completed, and the bike survived its other rides that day without incident.
  • Starting my ride home on Wednesday night, I could tell that something was wrong with my right pedal. I thought that maybe one side of the platform was broken, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark and decided to finish my ride home and check it out in the garage. Unfortunately, I only made it about halfway before the pedal broke off, the spindle cleanly severed where it enters the body of the pedal. I tried to look at the bright side: I’ve destroyed four pedals in the last couple of years, but this is the first time I’ve broken a right pedal. I’ve always broken left pedals before now. Maybe this means that my right leg is getting as pedal-breakingly strong as my left.

This Thursday, I countered my run of bad luck by switching bikes and giving my usual commuter a rest. It’s due for a new drivetrain anyway, so here’s hoping that it’ll be happier next week with a whole bunch of new components.

What did you just call me?

One turkey of a quote

Ever get the feeling that one of your vendors is trying to tell you what they really think of you when they deliver a quote? Maybe it’s just me, but doing a turkey installation doesn’t seem like that professional a service.

(The quote is littered with other errors as well, including the name of the product itself. It sure inspires confidence.)

Trabemaster rebux

After I picked up a pair of Trabemaster gloves last week, I sent an email to the Canadian distributor asking about the misprint. I got this response a couple of days later:

Thank you for your email and also for letting us know about the spelling mistake.

We went through a full investigation and have found 2 sku’s out of 84 that show a spelling mistake.

Even though this does not affect the performance of the gloves , we will take appropriate action on this issue.

Appropriate action in this case doesn’t seem to include sending me a free case of gloves, but there you have it.

Jack of all trabes

Jack of all trabes

So much for pribe in workmanship when it comes to these Trabemaster work gloves I bought at Home Bepot tobay. I unberstanb that errors sometimes slip past without anyone noticing until it’s too late, but it’s rare to see such an obvious mistake on such prominent bisplay with the name of the probuct misspelleb on the probuct itself. Yes, the whole rack of gloves lookeb just like this pair. Anb no, they weren’t in the clearance bin.

Untold has-bins

Toronto Sun article

Two things you can always count on the Toronto Sun to provide: great headlines and hyperbole. It’s hard to take any article seriously when the writer refers to “untold tens of thousands” of people, and then goes on to, well, tell us exactly how many tens of thousands (a mere seven and a half) in the very next sentence. And what great disaster has befallen these newly-told masses? Hurricane? Fire? Terrorism? No, it’s much worse: they don’t have new garbage cans. The horror!

Awesome headline, though.

Screen capture from the Toronto Sun web site.

Dumbing it down

No dumbing

It looks like someone in rural northeastern Pickering has had enough of idiots treating this vacant lot like their own private dumb and has chosen to combat the problem by posting this notice at the entrance. And who can blame the poor owner? No one wants to visit their plot of land only to discover that they’ve been dumbed on again. Do you have any idea how much it costs to clean up after that kind of stupidity?

Trail detour

Watch that first step

Trail detour? Maybe when the harbour was frozen over a couple of months ago, but not right now. This sign is next to the condo construction site at Stadium Road and Queens Quay and is either intended to get cyclists and pedestrians around occasional intrusions by construction equipment into their realm or a forgotten relic from some long-ago temporary trail closure. Either way, shouldn’t it be pointing to the path straight ahead instead of directing unfortunates to make a right turn into Lake Ontario?