An expensive day – Bicycling Woes

Lately, I have been pretty jazzed that my feet have allowed me to begin bicycling again. For the longest time, my plantar fasciitis pretty much put the kabosh on cycling. But about a month ago I gave it another whirl, and it was not painful. Woo hoo, I love to cycle, and it would be great to get back on the saddle regularly again.

Tucson had better riding, lots of hills, and good routes to ride. Moving to Chandler has been a little different. While there aren’t easy access to mountain roads, we do have well groomed and paved trails on the irrigation canals. From my house, it is about 2 miles to where the canal trail crosses Chandler boulevard, and from there you could go 8+ miles to the end of the trail. Good riding, slight uphill all way. 21 to 22 miles out and back.  Good ride, easy, and pretty safe.

This AM, I got my bike down from the hooks, and pumped up the tires. I noticed that the rear wheel was a little out of true. Not a big deal, so I grabbed my spoke wrench and put it to the nipple. “Ting” the nipple broke.  Shoot. No ride today, so I geared up and went walking. After the walk, I pulled the wheel off, removed the tire and headed to the local bike shop.

We moved here last July, so we are still hunting around for all the usual haunts (good chinese, mexican, and american food, bike shops, the Apple store, where to get the best breakfast. Yada yada) so we stumbled into a shop in Gilbert called “Global Bikes”. I took my wheel there to see if they could fix it. Since it was the nipple that disintegrated, it would be an easy fix (they would have had to remove the cassette to replace the spoke). So I rummaged around for 15 minutes.

The tech found me in the mountain bike area, and told me that he had fixed it. But he noticed that the rim had stress fractures near all the spoke holes. Yikes. It was pretty easy to see them, and I was naturally concerned. Global Bikes isn’t a Trek dealer (the bike is a 2001 Lemond Buenos Aires, and it had the trek made Bontrager wheels), but a couple of the guys there thought that Trek might warranty the wheel. I was skeptical that they would consider replacing a wheel from a bike that was 12 years old, but they said that they might.

So, off to A1 Bikes, the nearest Trek Authorized dealer. Fortunately it was only 5 minutes away. So I headed over and walked back to the service desk, and explained that there were lots of stress cracks in the rim, and would it be possible to warranty it. He said that no, as it was 12 years old, and clearly I had ridden it (a lot, I will attest to), and I am not a svelte guy, so I am sure I put a lot of stress on the wheel, so I wasn’t too surprised.

I asked what he recommended, and he said: “Well, you can ride on it, keeping an eye on how true the wheel was. That it would become difficult to keep it trued, and then it would be time to replace it”. I was flabbergasted. He was recommending I continue to use a wheel that is showing extensive stress fatigue, and early failure signs. Sigh.

So, back to Global Bikes (for the record, these guys are awesome), and I picked up a set of wheels, Fulcrum Racing wheels, and lightened my wallet by $500+.

The bike is back together, cleaned up, and ready to ride in the morning.

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