Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Givin' it Away:

Yesterday I paid a fond farewell to my Match-built Schwinn Paramount -- or, at least, the remains thereof. That bike was my introduction to cycling, and while I can't really wax poetic about its ride qualities compared with any other bike, since thin-walled racing steel tubes are actually probably harsher than a modern carbon layup, it was a great bike. And now, hopefully it will be again someday, for a guy named Dave, who actually used to work for Match.

The Paramount was wrecked when I was hit by a car over two years ago, and I kept the frame around because lugged steel is certainly fixable. You just have to heat up the lugs, remove the damaged tubes, and either repair or replace them. If it were a cheaper bike in a different era, you could just quickly reweld or rebraze the thing together and call it rideable, but a custom job like this demands a custom repair. A little research into the matter showed that it'd cost more to source parts and have the thing professionally put back together than it cost me to buy it in the first place, and then I'd have to repaint it. I accepted that I was never going to reasonably do that, so I gave it away to Dave, who still has some spares of at least some of the custom tubes.

It's better than turning the thing in as scrap steel, that's for sure. Good luck to you, my man. Send a picture whenever it's rebuilt!

Also, They Come In Threes, haven't you heard?

Flats, in this case. I hadn't gotten a flat tire in some time, until yesterday. At least a couple of months. No, scratch that. I hadn't gotten a flat tire while riding in a couple of months. In rainy Cascadia, a lot of our flats are caused by little pieces of glass that work their way through the tire, and the leaks they cause are so small that you don't notice them until you go to ride your bike the next time, and it's sitting on the rim. Well, it's better than having to change it in the rain. Or, the hail, which I have decided after the past week is definitely my least-favorite weather to ride in, bar none.

Well, yesterday, coming over the Puyallup River bridge out of Tacoma, I didn't hit the brakes at all as I took the sharp, pothole-filled, gravel-strewn right turn into Fife. Yeah, well, if it sounds unsafe, I've taken the corner a zillion times, I've got a pretty good sense of where to lean it over. But I usually brake, just the same. 140-lb guys don't get pinch flats very often. I think this was actually my first! I didn't lift the front wheel just so over that double pothole, and bang. Literally probably three quarters of my flats have been rear ones, I forget how dramatically uncontrollable a sudden front flat is. Fixed, though, in the sun, and on my way.

Today I one-upped myself by getting two flats, and on a day that I only brought a single tube. The first was on highway 509, on that bit as you're heading into downtown T-town where it's actually a divided freeway. Great. At least there was a big enough shoulder at that point that I changed the thing safely. From there it's less than ten miles home, and though I wasn't ready to call it quits just yet, I headed for home to at least grab another tube. Of course, you know what's coming. At that SAME spot on 20th into Fife, my rear tire goes pop-hiss for a second time in a day. At first I'm mad at myself, since I have definitely not gotten the ENTIRE little piece of glass out of my tire on an occasion or two, but, um, this time it was a roofing nail. I counted myself lucky it didn't punch all the way through to the rim, but I had to call M. Wrenchead to come and rescue me. Thanks M.W. Crap, am I going to have to start carrying two tubes on every ride now? I guess, a second CO2 cylinder and patch kit would work.

Yes, I know I talked about Frame Pumps and how they are great assets. But, crap, while they fit so nicely on an oldschool steel frame, modern carbon monocoques are pretty opposed to them. I have seen guys rig up pretty solid setups, maybe I'll have to look into it. Even if it means zipping zip-ties to my frame.



  • At 8:23 AM , Blogger josh said...

    figure out a creative way to get your framepump on your bike...if nothing else, they are useful for taking out and holding menacingly in a variety of situations... :)

    at least you're done with flats for awhile?

  • At 5:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm sure you've seen the picture of Oscar Freire with his pump duct-taped to the top-tube of his Colnago.

    Whatever you've gotta do...

  • At 1:19 AM , Blogger Cameron Figgins said...

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