With all this snow lately, fewer and fewer cyclists are on the roads, myself included. But I'm afraid to admit that it isn't the snow that has kept me out of commission. In a delusional moment of bicycle triumph, I was over taken by hubris and messed up my front brakes.
I always think it's such a good, easy idea to pop the front wheel off my bike, and throw it in a friend's car en route to holiday shopping or post work drinks. I'll just pop the thing back on after a little social rendezvous and head on my merry way home. I've got quick release tires after all, I'll think, forgetting that the ease of my bicycle's design is no match for my shortcomings when it comes to assembling even the simplest of machines.
So it was when I agreed to do a little holiday shopping with a coworker at the City Market a few weeks back. I rode into work, so my friend offered to drive us there with my bike in tow. I easily detached the wheel and in no time slid it into his back seat, peacocking about my bicycle prowess. On arrival, I hopped out of the car while he looked for parking, giving me ample time to reattach the wheel and lock it up.
Fifteen minutes later, a fellow cyclist found me at the rack fiddling with my brakes as my friend loomed over me. The cyclist gallantly offered his assistance. And I made some embarrassing reference to Gone With The Wind and the kindness of strangers, turning scarlet at the thought of the last three times this happened to me and the other charitable souls that took pity on my lack of skills. It was dark and the cyclist did his best but the brake pad still rubbed the wheel as I rode home later on.
Cut to the snow day this past week, and I still haven't gotten the brakes fixed. I've pulled my bike inside my apartment to tinker with it several times. Learning by doing has gotten me far in the past. Surely I'll fix the problem by loosening and tightening bolts at random. Wrong! Now the brake cable is loose rendering the brake leaver useless, and the pad is still too tight for the wheel to spin properly.
In my tinkering (a misguided attempt show off my bicycle badass-ery to my fiancé) I'm sure I've cocked it up worse. I really need to take it to a shop, maybe Bikes on Mass Ave or BGI at the Indy Bike Hub and have an expert look at it. But now with all this snow, I'm procrastinating that walk of shame. Perhaps my New Year's resolution for 2013 should be to learn more about bicycle mechanics.