Posts Tagged ‘ falmunction ’

Happy Monday to you too, Cambridge.

Monday, March 5th, 2012

This morning on my way down Mass Ave, rather than potbellied cops on motorcycles waiting to give mild mannered cyclists unnecessary tickets, I came upon  some kind of huge DPW truck siphoning water from the nearby hydrants. The truck was in the left lane, across the road from the hydrants, and the 3″ thick hose was unavoidable. They expected traffic to go over it.  Yours truly, assuming they had taken ‘bicycle traffic’ into account when setting this up, expected the hose to give even just a little, allowing me to stay with the flow of traffic. Nope. It rolled instead, causing me to capsize in the street, completely wracking my left elbow and knee and smooshing my bike bell beyond repair. I guess my five mile run is out of the question now, as is going more than 8mph on  my bike for the rest of the week. Thanks a bunch for thinking of the cyclists, City of Cambridge!





Love Train

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

For the last two days I’ve been only one of a veritable love train of cyclists commuting during rush hour. Not all of them obey the rules or wear helmets, but they all seem to  be respectful, and all wear that beatific, peaceful look that says, “I am outside on a beautiful day, and my heart is beating with mild exertion – life is good.”

Obviously, life isn’t ALL good – we still have to contend with yawning potholes, stressed out or ‘attention blind’ motorists, and the occasional bike falmunction. I saw a woman lose her lunch yesterday, literally, on my morning commute. I guess her backpack had unzipped, releasing a large tupperware bowl full of delicious looking salad. If you read this, I feel for you miss. That’s some rough luck on a Monday morning.

Speaking of falmunctions – apparently Krankenberry’s issue was with the hub after all. Luckily it is totally fixable and I should be hearing back from Ace Wheelworks today at some point. Kranky has  certainly been living up to her name in the past few weeks. Hopefully this is my last fix on her for a long while.

Calypso has been a lifesaver. I had a little bit of work to do on her before she was rideable as you can see:

Holey Gaping Tires, Batman!

I love riding vintage bikes. The weight and the feel of them actually force you to slow down and chill out, making for a ride that is the embodiment of leisure. It’s not something I’d want to do for my commute every day, but it makes a great change of pace. Also, it’s nice to know that with a minimum of upkeep, I’m going to have this lovely lady to fall back on for as long as I can find room for her in my basement.

It looks like is getting more and more traffic every day (pun? sure why not). I’m excited that this is taking off, and that people are posting more than just potholes – mistimed traffic lights, dangerous intersections, hanging electrical wires, and bike lane necessities have made it on to the site in the last few weeks. Now if we can make sure all these notifications are going to the right people, we should be in business. Also, I want a cellphone app for this. For Android, of course 😛

ride on, my lovelies.

Death by Misadventure

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I know it may not come across, but the truth is that my greatest fear on the road is not the other people.  I understand human nature, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the next douchebag is going to act like a douchebag, much like the last douchebag. This is why I’m still alive (knock on titanium). What I fear the most is the great and unexpected Falmunction. The unpredictable structural discombobulation that can happen at any time but most often happens at the VERY WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT, and sends you spinning off into oblivion with no control and no way to save yourself.

This has happened to me a couple times in the past few months. Once while cresting the Harvard Ave. bridge – I was riding my chopper and the internal hub just… disintegrated. leaving me with no forward gears and no coaster brake. I had to Fred Flintstone myself to a stop to avoid coasting right into traffic on frantic Memorial Drive. The second time was just last week, when the gear cable on my Liesurenaught went kablooey right in the center of the intersection of Harvard and Cambridge (the site of another bicyclist’s death, ugh). Luckily I had learned from my last mistake, and my coaster brake and hand brake were in fine condition, so despite my lack of forward momentum I still had enough control to get myself to the curb.
When I read about the death of Tracy Milillo, particularly the statement,

Capt. Michael Gropman said the vehicle may have never made contact with Milillo’s bike.”

I was struck by how many times I’ve hit the bricks… or the curb or whatever, without ever having been threatened by a motor vehicle. Just yesterday, on my way into work I was welcomed into Allston by this little gift, which instantly deflated my tire and sent me wobbling into the right hand lane of traffic.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

Good old Allston, always good for some road confetti.

How many times have people been chucked under the wheels of oncoming traffic because they installed new brake pads and forgot to loosen the calipers? How many cool kids on fixies with no brakes and no helmet (see: me last year and for 3 years prior) dropped a chain and then panicked, rolling right into oncoming traffic? And how would anyone know in the aftermath? How can you check a bike for ‘defects’ if it’s been rolled over by 2 tons of steel?

I used to foam at the mouth over drivers being let go without being charged after having been involved in cycling accidents, particularly when a cyclist is hurt.. but now I’m not so sure of myself. Particularly after my own recent experiences, which all happened, I might add, after I’d gotten my bike worked on by a local shop. Mishap due to pilot error is one thing – you can plan for that, you can mouse around and ride like Grandma taught you. But if your cable breaks, or your ball bearings go ‘KLONK!’ and seize up, or your brake pad shifts and rips out all your spokes… it’s the stuff of nightmares. Better wear your helmet.

An Ill Wind Blows in Allston

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Yesterday was a bad day to be a biker. For me, anyway. Sure, the weather was great. Sunny skies, zero humidity. Exhausted, hung over and sleep deprived. Crotchety. In the middle of the intersection at N. Harvard and Cambridge in Allston,  my gear line snaps. Yeah. So I get to coast between two huge rattling trucks  and various red light runners to the edge of the road. My cable had wrapped itself around my cranks multiple times. I work in Brookline. The 66 bus has no bike rack. FML. So walked it to work, and along the way I got to enjoy at length the smells I only get whiffs of on my daily trek through Allston. Many parts of Allston smell exactly like the plugs in my ears after a few months of neglect. Yum. Closer to Brookline, or maybe inside, there is the smell of salty, sizzling beef, and it makes my mouth water every time. What I really want to know about is one smell I only smell on my way home in the evening, somewhere between coolidge and commonwealth along Harvard. It’s pizza, but it’s the kind of pizza you go out of your way for – WAY out of your way. I’ve never been able to pinpoint where the smell is coming from.

Anyway, I was able to  re-rig my slinkiefied shifter cable, after much sweating and swearing. I had to make up my lost time at work, however, so I hit the worst of the evening traffic on my way home.  I have no words, or rather, far too many words for the extreme douchebaggery I witnessed on the road yesterday. All I can do is link this, the import of the image I sadly admit it took me a few looks to fully grasp. I’m a bit slow sometimes.

So, to raise my spirits: