CYCLE LIFE CHALLENGE #4: A Big Purchase With Real Money

Between mid-February and today, a lot has happened. One of the things that happened was my purchase of an airline ticket to El Paso for a bike tour. Nice!

Another thing that happened was ME bringing my bike to my most trusted mechanic for a pre-tour tune-up. My most trusted mechanic is my brother, who has been fixing bikes since he was in high school. Now he’s some kind of bigshot at the Park Tool Company, yet he still makes time to work on my bike. One look at my bike and he warned me it needed a lot of work.

One more thing that happened since mid-February is the escalation of some kind of virus called “Corona.” Perhaps you’ve heard something about it on the radio or TV, or read about it in the newspaper. If not, let me fill you in: IT SUCKS. I hate the Coronavirus for many reasons, not the least of which is that it forced me to cancel (postpone?) the bike tour mentioned in the first paragraph. I had been looking forward to cycling the wide open deserts between four National Parks (White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, & Big Bend.)

Then this Corona thing exploded and sent what I thought would be my most scenic tour yet right down the toilet.

But what’s the point of going on a bike trip if everybody I know was discouraging me from doing it, and everything I wanted to do was shut down to the public anyway? Oh well, don’t feel bad for me. I’ll be fine. I’ll have no problem spending the next few weeks riding my bike and avoiding people even more than I usually do.

There is another reason you shouldn’t feel bad for me. I picked up my bike this morning at the Park Tool headquarters. It was full of new and upgraded parts–most notably a completely rebuilt drive train. I paid for the parts and that’s my local purchase. (Incredibly, my bro refused to take any additional payment for his labor. He brushes it off as being “good practice for keeping up his bike repair skills and for using his company’s bike repair stands and tools.)

New bottom bracket, chain ring, rear cassette, pedals, chain and derailleurs. It’s surprising how the teeth on your chain ring can slowly wear down to sharp points and you don’t even notice the decrease in performance.

New brakes, shifters, cables, and bar tape. It’s surprising how only three weeks using integrated levers on my roadie bike made me forget how to use bar end shifters. No matter how hard I tried to push my brake levers to the side, the gears never changed.

My newly rebuilt bike rode like a dream . . . a fine-tuned, surrealistic, flying-through-outer-space dream. I felt like I was pedaling across the universe.

Not only is this my favorite cover of any Beatles song, but it’s also a cool video. Today I felt like Fiona Apple, calmly singing a song while ignoring all the chaos going on around her. And as long as I have a bike to ride, nothing’s gonna change MY world either — certainly not a little rain, store closings, empty shelves, self-isolation, or a postponed bike trip.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

11 response to "CYCLE LIFE CHALLENGE #4: A Big Purchase With Real Money"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: March 19, 2020

    Know the Beatles song, but never saw that video before. Nice.

    By the way, would your brother like to have another brother who rides a Surly? Must be something wrong with my Park tools, because they don’t seem to work quite as well in my hands. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 20, 2020

      Yeah, those tools don’t work in my hands either. In fact, I barely know how to work a screwdriver without some kind of help. I’m sure I could put in a good word for you with my bro as long as you’re willing to drive up to St. Paul. If you mention my name you might have a 50-50 chance of him not rejecting you outright.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: March 19, 2020

    Nice video! Oh, the other one too, where they were smashing everything. ๐Ÿ™‚
    When someone works on YOUR bicycle, you go straight to the top!! Great Work — enjoy!

    • By: gregblood Posted: March 20, 2020

      Thanks for the clarification, Rich. I wasn’t sure which video everybody was complimenting until you specified MY video. But really, I know my voice is great, but I’m willing to admit that Fiona’s is slightly better.

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: March 20, 2020

    Great video…I feel your pain.

  4. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: March 21, 2020

    We cancelled our trip to Victoria to cycle rail trails. You cancelled yours to El Paso (a place that sounds so exotic to me). Can we sue anyone for causing this by not properly social distancing (or hoarding MY toilet paper!).

  5. By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 21, 2020

    Dearest,
    Fiona is da bomb. So was your video. Really enjoyed it.
    -YOUR Goddess

  6. By: The Navigator Posted: March 23, 2020

    Loved your video. It must be spring – snow on the ground and rain falling.

    I hope you really enjoy that new drivetrain – regardless of whether it is the big tour or just smaller ones near home. When I swapped all of mine out, it was almost like a new bike ๐Ÿ™‚ Changing to bar end shifters (my hands just never fit the brifters) and a mtn bike chainset was the best thing I ever did to my touring bike, and I wish I’d done it sooner!

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