Today I experienced the consequences of falling behind on bicycle maintenance. My seat had been getting loose for some time. Had the bike shop tighten it once but it got loose again right away. Since I was very busy I hadn't given it enough priority to dig out my tools to readjust it myself. I assumed since I'm sitting right on it the weight must be going straight down and nothing bad will happen... right?
Well, in reality the cylinder the bike seat attaches to comes up at an angle and the seat meets it at an acute angle, so there are significant leverage forces on that seat. When the bolt is lose those can be worse. So about a 3rd of the way to work this morning the bolt attaching the seat to the seat post was sheared by my own weight.
I managed to avoid collapsing in a heap, but just barely. I've never practiced dismounting from a bike while standing on the pedals instead of seated, but I pulled it off with with only some nasty scraping on my right ankle. So instead of being within minutes of being late to work I was very late to work, not having the stanima to run that distance without an inhaler (which I had forgotten in my other pack) much less while lugging a bike.
But now we come to why I'm glad I mainly travel by bike. Any kind of repair on a car that would take it from completely unusable to perfect shape would cost no less than 50$, but you count yourself lucky if its even as low as 300$. It took some time shopping around town for parts (mostly on foot since I only got a ride part way when a coworker tracked me down for a ride to the first store) but I was able to repair the bike for about 2.40$. My normal bike shop didn't have that bolt in stock and could only offer to replace the entire assembly for 10$. Second bike shop I visited was closed. The hardware store not only found me a bolt, nut, and washers that fit, they assembled them for me. I probably could have done it myself, but somehow I preferred to let the elderly mechanic, especially when he was rebending my seat brackets back into shape. He looked like he could be my grandfather, but I had no doubt he was better with tools than I am.
So now I am back in business on my bike, and the seat feels stronger in place than ever. Hopefully nothing else will unseat me anytime soon. No more surprises like the time I rear ended a car... one never thinks about following distance when most everyone is going twice as fast as you are...
3 months ago