Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Freakin' you baby

OK, maybe zip ties and duct tape aren't necessarily the best way to permanently attach accessories to a bicycle, but they usually work pretty damn well. Especially if you take the preventive measure of periodically replacing the zip ties before they become brittle from dry rot.

I don't always do that.

That's why I felt a little resistance and heard a buzzing sound coming from my rear wheel about a block and a half from my house this morning. My old Stumpjumper lacks fender mounts, so mine is, well ... let's just say "creatively" attached to the frame. A zip tie had gone tits-up on me, and I wasn't carrying a spare, so it was time to turn around and head back to the garage.

Times like this are when I love being the only person who services my bikes. There's nothing like building and caring for your own machine, because it means you know all its eccentricities and the funky shit you did to set it up. Well, that's if you did any funky shit to set it up. I don't cut corners on the road bike that does high-speed descents, or the mountain bike that carries me into the middle of nowhere, but my commuter is another matter.

The old Stumpy used to see some action. It's been on singletrack in multiple states from New Mexico to Alaska, but its current form is pure function. It's urban, ugly and utilitarian. I think it's fun to have at least one bike I don't have to be picky about. I can keep repairs quick and cheap, and still end up with a pretty reliable bike. And a simple one.

This morning, I rode back to the garage carefully to avoid destroying anything, then did some quick surgery with a zip tie, crescent wrench and wire cutters, and was rolling out the door about two minutes later. I couldn't have done that if someone else had rigged up my fenders, because I wouldn't have immediately understood where the fender mount had to be positioned, or why the fender was out of alignment after the new zip tie was installed, and how I could adjust the alignment with a wrench in just a few seconds.

That bike's a goofy lookin' freak, but it's my goofy lookin' freak.


Julie said...


When I attached my speedometer to my pugsley the fork attachment wasn't close enough to the spokes for it to work. So I used a ping pong ball and duck tape to get it closer.

It was meant to be a temporary fix, but it worked so well that it stayed on there all last winter.

Notorious T said...

A ping pong ball? Julie, you are a MacGyver Chick of the highest order.