Well, it’s finally happened. Or, it’s “happened” I should say, as the word “finally” would indicate that whatever it is that’s happened has been a long time coming. Which it hasn’t. Quite the opposite actually. What’s happened has happened a bit prematurely, and wasn’t supposed to happen (or so I thought) for at least another… well, I don’t have an exact time frame but, whatever it is, its much, much longer than the amount of time it actually took for what happened to happen.
So then, I bet you’re wondering what happened.
Right? Yes? Am I right? Or did you already get bored of my sneaking around revealing what happened in that intro paragraph and just exit out of the page figuring that, whatever happened, it’s clearly not very interesting, because if it was interesting, it would have itself been the lead-in to this blog post, and not this extra long paragraph of Scotty rambling on about how it happened too soon?
Oh well. Well, whether you’re still reading or not, here’s what happened:
*Drum Roll Please*
MY BICYCLE– which I have owned for the grand total of exactly one year– HAS BROKEN!
Ha-ha! Aren’t you glad you kept reading? Isn’t that just the most shocking news you’ve heard all week? Yes, it is. I know that you’re going to be gabbing about that with all your gal pals down at the beauty parlor tomorrow, don’t pretend like you aren’t. (“GERALDINE! Did you hear the news!” “What is it now Gladys?” “It’s finally happened!” “No!” “Yes!” “*gasp!*” “Mmmhmmm!” and on and on etc. etc., I know how these things go.)
Anyway, even if it isn’t the most scandalous slice of gossip pie you’ve heard, it’s certainly the most interesting that’s happened to me in the past three months (apart from climbing seven fourteeners with my brother, which was a blast! But I like to keep the tone of this blog nice and cynical and pessimistic, so I didn’t write about personal achievement.) (Also I bought a new TV that arrived with a broken screen, but I was far too bummed out about that to muster up the strength to write about it. Also, there just wasn’t a whole lot to write about it. The story is essentially: I bought a TV at WalMart. I went to pick it up. I opened the box. It was broken. I returned it. The End.)
But I’m getting off track.
As I was saying, my bicycle is now broken. Broken “beyond repair,” I should clarify (although I personally am still not totally convinced that this is the case. I’ll explain why later. However, the people at the bike shop say it’s broken beyond repair and, seeing as they’re the only ones who can repair it, this leaves me with few alternatives. If the people who repair bikes say they can’t repair it, that means it’s not going to get repaired. So it may as well be broken beyond repair.)
Since my bike and I’s relationship was so short-lived as it was, I suppose there’s really no point in my mourning over the loss of it. Indeed, if I’m being totally honest, most of the mourning I’ve been doing lately is mourning over all the sweet, precious, innocent little dollars I’m going to lose now that I have to buy a new bike.
I really didn’t form a very strong bond with the bike itself, so saying goodbye to it was a little bit like saying goodbye to someone you just sat next to on an airplane. Just a quick, kind of awkward, “well, that was fun. Um… bye.” and then you drive away, leaving them behind at the junkyard to be melted into scrap metal (the bike you leave behind at the junkyard, not your fellow airplane passenger. At least, I hope not.)
I suppose I should tell you the story of how the bike broke though.
The other day, I was riding down College Ave. toward King Soopers on my way to buy myself my small, mid-week bunch of bananas (because I’ve learned, since living by myself, that bananas go bad very very quickly, and if you want to ensure that you are eating a fresh, firm banana every day, you can’t buy one bunch for the whole week, but instead must buy half of a bunch for the first half of the week, and another, new half a bunch for the second half of the week. The more you know.) Anyway, I was riding down College Ave. when the pedals on my bicycle suddenly went berserk.
This didn’t surprise me, as they had been acting up all week. However, in the past, all I needed to do to fix the problem was simply back-pedal a little ways, and then keep moving and everything would continue on dandily. This time, though, there was a very loud crunching noise and a bit of a grinding sound, and then all of the sudden I was pedalling, but my peddalling wasn’t moving me forward anymore. Seeing as a bike’s central purpose is to move forward, I figured this was a problem.
So I got off of the bike to inspect the damage, and found that the chain had become unhinged from the gears, and was now dragging on the ground like the feet of a bored seven-year-old in a super market. It was also rustier than Tom Waits’s larynx, and most definitely needed to be replaced.
I had known this for a long time. The past winter had not been particularly friendly to the vehicle, and I kept telling myself I would take it in to get it looked at, and I had kept failing to do so for reasons that I won’t repeat here because they’re all very lame.
So the next day I took the bike into the bike shop and dropped it off for an inspection. I told them that the chain was broken, and maybe the gears could be polished up a bit, and if they would be able to fix those things I would greatly appreciate it.
A few days later, I got a call from the shop telling me that they had an assessment ready on the bike. So I walked down to check it out.
I’m not much of a math guy, nor do I know anything about bikes, however I had made a few wild guesses about how much it might cost to fix the thing up, and estimated from these entirely baseless assumptions that the total would probably be somewhere between fifty to seventy-five dollars tops– which was a bit more than I would have liked to spend, but it was worth it if it meant I would have a bike that was in working order.
So, you can imagine my shock when I walked into the bike shop and they told me that to get the bike in shape, it would cost me upwards of $350.
This was a far cry from the aimless shot-in-the-dark projections that I had devised myself, and seemed a bit extravagant for a mere bike chain and gear set.
However, as the man behind the counter explained to me, in addition to the broken chain and gears, the handlebars were bent at an angle that exceeded safety standards, and thus needed to be replaced, the suspension of the front wheel was completely stripped and needed to be replaced, the back wheel axle was crooked and needed to be replaced, and the brake pads were both worn down to such a degree that they no longer had any traction and, you guessed it, needed to be replaced.
In short, nearly everything on the bike that moved, or otherwise aided in its movement, was totally shot and needed to be replaced.
This left me with two options, either:
A.) Buy a new bike for $300, or;
B.) Spend $350 to fix up my old bike that couldn’t even last a year without falling to pieces.
I suggested a third option, option C, which was to simply replace the chain and gears for fifty-or-so dollars, since these were the only things causing me immediate grief, and maybe just look the other way on all the other myriads of safety hazards until they themselves became problematic enough to render the machine unusable. However the people at the shop informed me that if I were to ride the bike in its present condition, it was almost certainly going to fall apart on me and likely leave me badly injured or, quite possibly, dead, and they couldn’t in good conscience let me ride around on a bike that posed such a severe threat both to myself and my surroundings.
So I mumblingly accepted their concern for my safety and took the stupid, broken, hunk of junk bike back.
And now, I have a broken bike which I can’t ride and also can’t get fixed.
So, what I’m wondering now is:
A: if anyone has any nice, cheap bikes they’re looking to get off their hands for a reasonable price, or;
B: if anyone knows of any sleazy bike shops who are willing to fix a broken chain on a totaled, hazardous bicycle without asking any questions about the vehicle’s tsunami of other safety hazards.
Please leave any recommendations in the comments. I would appreciate it.