Print Story Shakedown Cruise
By ObviousTroll (Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 07:34:17 AM EST) (all tags)
Distance: 34.7 miles
Average Speed: 13.8 mph
Total Distance: 854.5 miles

Bought a new bike yesterday.

Inside: I spill my guts for your vicarious amusement.

[Update] Now translated into grammatically correct English!

But before I do that, you have to read about my bike.

I bought the bike for a couple of reasons: my old bike was really too small for me (I actually extended the seat and handlebars to get myself more leg room) and, more critically, I've put enough miles on it that it needs an overhaul of the drive train - which will easily be another couple hundred dollars on top of a bike that didn't cost that much to begin with and which I've spent at least a hundred a year keeping in shape.

So, the theory is that by buying a new bike, I get a couple of years of lower repair costs (hopefully) during which time I can buy some tools and overhaul my old bike myself.

So how did it do? Right now the verdict is a resounding "meh". I was hoping that the larger frame, crank and wheels would give me a speed boost but I actually lost speed on the ride. In addition, the shifters are push-pull thumb shifters where you push once and, hopefully, shift gears - instead of the "twist till the gears do what you want" shifters I'm used to. Basically, I kept down-shifting when I wanted to up-shift and I kept banging my knuckles on them, to boot.

I think the loss of speed has three causes. First, I didn't buy pedal clips, or clipless pedals, which means I was spending a surprising amount of energy keeping my feet correctly on the pedals. Second, the bike is set up for a more upright posture than I'm used to, so my legs were feeling weird - and I'm a lot stiffer right now than I expected to be. Finally, the gearing is wildly different than it was on my Trek - the low gears are lower and the high gears are higher, which meant I spent a lot of time hunting for a gear that felt right.

Still, all these issues are "acclimating" problems. Hopefully my speeds will pick back up again over the next couple of weeks.

On the upside, the shifters really are quite smooth now that they're properly adjusted (the front derailleur needed to be tweaked), the brakes are surprisingly strong without locking up the wheels and the front fork has a lock-out for the shocks. In addition, the rear rack I had them put on it actually fits my trunk bag better than the rack on the Trek.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to trick it out so that it isn't just another black bike. I'm thinking red pin-striping with a 1970's Firebird logo someplace obnoxious. And maybe some LEDs for the wheels. With a micro-controller that uses the LEDs to display messages as the wheels are turning.

Yeah. Perfect.

Here comes the guts:

First, you should know that baby brother is doing better than I could have imagined. Despite my initial belief that the only way to break your femur is to get the truck to run over you, apparently he ran over the truck, instead. (Click the link to see the photos the cop took of the accident scene.) Apparently, the truck turned in front of him and BB managed to plant his face on the passenger side of the truck then fly over the bed of the truck, landing on the road beyond. How you break your femur doing that, I cannot understand.

But, the helmet did it's job and saved him from serious head injury and while he has assorted soft-tissue damage the only major trauma was the leg: It was broken badly enough that they actually scraped out all the marrow from his broken femur, replaced it with a titanium rod, and bolted the bits of bone to the rod.

Then they told him to go home.

I'm not kidding.

The idea that you could do something that traumatic to the largest bone in a man's body and then tell him "okay, you start physical therapy tomorrow, but we want you to try standing on it today" is pretty damn wild - but while he sounded pretty groggy when I spoke to him he says that recovery is going to be a much shorter process than we all thought.

Still, the whole process was quite a shock to my whole family; not just the accident itself, but my mom making the sudden drive down to North Carolina, and the fact that I, at least, haven't seen either my baby sister (in VA) nor my baby brother (in NC) is a long, long time. 

And I think that's pretty much my fault.

Because, when you get down to it, I really am a computer geek of the old school - one of the guys who got into computers because they made more sense than people, one of the guys who's more comfortable reading a book about elves than having a conversation with a human.

For example: It took me 4 hours to realize that Mom would want to get down to North Carolina as fast as possible, and that I should go, too. By that time, she'd already left. And I'm still not sure if I'm feeling (a) annoyed that she didn't accept help from any of us local kids, (b) guilty for not heading down anyway or (c) annoyed because I wanted to be big brother riding to the rescue, except I couldn't even find my horse.

Hell, I have to force myself to post here. Not because I enjoy spilling my guts for an international audience but because I'm hoping that, with enough practice, I'll merely be bad at dealing with people instead of execrable. I know it sounds like a sad stereotype, but it's a lot easier for me to put on make up and work with sick kids than it is to come up with things to say at a cocktail party. Of the two costumes, the tuxedo is definitely harder to fill properly.

On the upside, though, I love my family and I'm definitely proud of my children - I have no idea what they'll do with their lives when they're grown, but as human beings I think they're doing great. And, actually, my brothers and sisters have turned out pretty well, too, even if one of them got nominated as McCain's running mate without telling us...

< Post 9/11 | yesterday i planted mushrooms >
Shakedown Cruise | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Time, etc. by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 09:01:47 AM EST
It's hard with far flung relatives. I'm lucky to see either my sister or my brother once every few years.

When we were kids, my sister broke her leg in a similar accident, only it was a motorcycle and she was riding behind my father. (Same issue: stupid driver doing a left-turn.) She didn't break it near as bad, though.

It is pretty damn amazing what they can do with medicine these days. Too bad the way it gets paid for is completely borked.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

I had a wreck just like that when I was 14 or so. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 05:33:05 AM EST
A Benz ran a stop sign and I went over the hood. Landed in grass, rather than on the curb, so I walked away.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Lucky Man by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 03:44:20 PM EST
Actually, I had a similar experience, but it was my fault - I was the one running the light (on my bike) and I broad sided a car with my face. which turned out to be a cheap lesson on obeying traffic laws.

Thought for the day: Some people are like slinkies - Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
[ Parent ]
Minor midget broke her femur by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Sep 15, 2008 at 06:22:21 AM EST
Flying off a playground swing. Spiral fracture. She was in a plaster spike for 3 months. She was 4 at the time.

[ Parent ]
Oh Lord. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Sep 15, 2008 at 01:06:30 PM EST
Lamb did something similar when she was about that age. She got around like a 3 legged crab, holding the cast in the air as she crawled at high speed.

Thought for the day: Some people are like slinkies - Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
[ Parent ]
Shakedown Cruise | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback