Sunday, September 20, 2009

Short ride/tune-up

My knee (the one that was giving me trouble in August) is slightly sore today, so I decided to put the long indoor ride off until tomorrow - probably best to let the legs absorb what I gave them to deal with yesterday. As long as I do more work tonight, I can afford the hours tomorrow morning, I think...

But I needed to take my bike in for a tune-up - in particular because of the bar-end plug fiasco!

(The official at the transition area for the New York City Triathlon in July pointed to my missing one and very sternly and rather pompously told me that I would not be allowed out of transition the next morning unless it were plugged, that race officials would be going round before transition opened in the morning to check and that it was very dangerous not to have one - "Somebody could be killed!" It was not a suitable moment for me to indulge my insatiable curiosity and ask how - but the mechanic at Sid's Bikes confirms my suspicion that it was officious hyperbole rather than a precise description of a specific eventuality likely to result from the absence of a bar-end plug!)

That night I found a bit of rubber at home, the plug-like thing at the end of one of the sort of mirror that screws into a bar end, and stuffed it into the bike and taped it over with electrical tape - I figured that would cover me for the actual race (the race mechanics did not have any extras - the same bar end had lost its plug previously and someone in Florida had given me a new one the year before, but it was perhaps only precariously lodged) - but of course have been lazy about taking it in to get fixed.

But I noticed on the Bassman racesite the ominous words - "5:30 am Transition Area Opens USAT marshal inspects handlebars. All handlebar ends must be solidly plugged!" And really I already knew I had to do it before my next race...

So I rode my bike down to Sid's Bikes, and had what I can only describe as an unequivocally positive experience. It really is a great store - I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a bike in NYC. (I go to the west side location, because it is more convenient from where I live, but I believe the other store is their main one.)

I thought I would have to drop it off and pick it up later in the week, but one of the mechanics very kindly said that if I didn't mind waiting a few minutes, he would do it on the spot. Basically everything was fine, but he found some new plugs and very solidly tamped them in - I think they will not be popping out so easily now! - and also observed that my bike computer wasn't working.

That computer has just made me throw up my hands in despair - it is the non-intuitive Cateye Astrale! - it worked for a couple months when I first got the bike, and then thoroughly stopped working, not that I had ever really understood its features. Periodically I have jiggled the sensors around and very briefly gotten it to pick up cadence and speed data, but it has never continued to work for more than a ride or two, and I've sort of just been ignoring it for the last year.

He said it had been carelessly installed before, and did a bunch of stuff to make it more likely to stay working - a shim for the bit that sticks onto the crank so that the magnet comes closer, remounting the computer itself so that the connection would work better and the whole set-up would be tidier. It was above and beyond - and all absolutely free!

I will count this as 10 miles of riding (which it was, but really I am resolved not to count utilitarian rides as training, at least once I am logging more miles!) and will hope for a long ride in the morning tomorrow...

1 comment:

ShirleyPerly said...

I used to wonder why bar ends had to be plugged and someone told me at my last tri that is because if you were to fall and land on your handlebars, the sharp edges of the open end could take a core sample out of you. Sounds unlikely but the officials seem to be very picky about it.