Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Tale Of Two Commutes

The snow was still firm enough last Friday to ride on.
The commutes of late have all been undertaken on the Ti Mukluk fat bike. In the Winter, it is just easier to hop on a bike with flat pedals, capable wheels, and with the Body Float seat post, it rides like a Cadillac. Why wouldn't I ride this bike back and forth to work? I can wear boots that keep my feet warm, or hiking boots when it is warmer, or Adidas when it gets to the 40's. Actually, on Friday it almost was that warm here.

Anyway, I took a longer route home to see if perhaps some trails had been ridden in, but I found my usual "dirt home from work" route had not been ridden in. No worries! I took a different way, went up on along the bike path on the south side of the Cedar River, and through a bit of downtown before hitting the neighborhood near my place. It was a really pleasant ride. Only one real issue was nagging me about the bike, and that was that the front shifter had jammed and I was stuck in the big ring. That was okay though, as I prefer that to being stuck in a lower range.

It was pretty surprising, but the snow was holding up rather well yet on Friday when I rode home. I was pretty sure it would be totally mushed out, but I was wrong. However; Saturday was to be even warmer, and Sunday was to be warm, so who knew then what Monday would bring?

A beautiful day Friday for a long way home ride from work.
Monday's commute was a somber, moody atmosphere.
Saturday I had big plans for a long ride. The day was perfect for it, but I was thwarted by a dizziness, stuffy head, and a cruddy throat. Mrs. Guitar Ted prescribed rest, fluids, and no riding. Bummer! Well.........she was right though. I ended up feeling better on Sunday, and my son and I did a brisk 45 minute walk/jog which got my exercise in. It wasn't much, but I am healthier for it. Had I ridden, I probably would be more ill now than I should be.

Anyway, the snow was melting all weekend and in to Monday. I was shocked by how much snow was gone on my early morning commute. Mud and slop were everywhere, and snow cover had receded to the point where large patches of grass were visible in many places now. It was really foggy, so I had lights on front and rear on the Muk. Calm before the storm we were to get Tuesday, perhaps. A moody, somber calm, which was in stark contrast to Friday's commute.

I had to be very careful of the "black ice" patches of refrozen snow melt from Sunday. It was treacherous in a few places and I walked my bike a couple of times to avoid certain harm to my body. The other notable thing was how many rubber-neckers there were yesterday morning. More so than usual. Maybe they figured I was a crazy, unprepared for a Winter storm cyclist? I don't know, but I had two people slow significantly to stare and another actually rolled down her side window to get a better look. Weird.

What the....?!! My crank arm came off on the way home.
On the way back from work, the temperatures had risen above freezing again, and the snow was melting. I was hammering away and crusing fast when about a mile from home, I felt something like a bent pedal spindle feels like. I immediately soft pedaled, and then coasted to a stop. I reached down to spin the pedal, which I figured was failing, to see if I was correct. I have had these Fixation Mesa MP pedals for several years now, so it would not have surprised me to have found that they had given up the ghost finally. But no! The crank arm comes off in my hand!

So, I was quite surprised by this, and was thinking I may be walking a mile. Upon further inspection, the spindle and crank splines looked to be intact. Hmm.....

The crank is a surly OD model, and it has an aluminum pre-load plug that screws into the spindle and draws the non-driveside arm onto the spindle when the pinch bolts are loose. I could not find that bit anywhere. I figured it had fallen off somewhere between work and where I was, but that was three plus miles I wasn't going to cover again. The arm wouldn't slip back on the spindle until I loosened the pinch bolts, so I did that and pushed the crank arm on as good as I could there. I tightened the pinch bolts as tightly as I could with a multi-tool and then gingerly pedaled it back a mile or so to the house.

Now today I have off due to the fear of the "big storm" and I need to do some scrounging, or this bike won't be commuting- or doing much of anything but being parked in the corral- for a long time.


Jacob Hueber said...

Love checking the blog everyday. What rear seat post fender do you use? Looking for something I can throw on and off all my bikes from Warbird to Blackborow.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jacob Hueber: Thanks!

My fender is a Portland Design Works "Dave's Mud Shovel" model.

Jacob Hueber said...

Is it someting you would recommend for duties on sloppy gravel on my Ti Warbid with no fender mounts? Also any recommendations for something on the front to keep me a little cleaner? Thanks

Guitar Ted said...

It would work, but I would probably pick a fender/mud guard appropriate for the bike. That's what I would do, but if you want to do something different, here is Universal Cycling's selection of SKS fenders and guards. Many of these would work on your Ti Warbird.