Yes, this is bicycle related. No, there is no need to worry. Those lines are for people who know about my getting thrown by a rebellious bike early in the summer and being hit by a car on August first. Actually, it has to do with getting to the source of the throwing incident. As the Chinese say, “A picture is worth 10,000 words”, so here’s a photo for you.
Friday I made a choice between letting a car hit me and riding off into a pit-filled shoulder. My rear tire got snake bit and went flat fast. I walked to my class and parked my bike there until I could get it repaired on Sunday. We chatted about a few other issues with this 20,000 yen machine and while investigating why the chain would jump in 3rd gear, this is what we found.
The chain is resting up on 1st gear. Second gears teeth can be seen just below that, but in this photo you can only see one tooth from 3rd gear: 12 of 21 teeth are broken, with most of those completely gone. This section is where 8 consecutive teeth are damaged.
For several months I have been careful to avoid 3rd gear at all costs. I suppose a brief inspection of the bike would have made this obvious: sometimes we just have to open our eyes.
Here’s another photo showing a section where 3rd gear has more teeth, but look a little further down and notice that 5th gear is also missing teeth. It is hard to imagine a 20,000 yen bike being this cheap. The first teeth must have been broken in less than a month. I had an old Schwinn for years as a kid and never lost a tooth from a gear. My adult bikes have been in the 40,000 to 100,000 yen range and in thousands of kilometers of hard riding I’ve never encountered this kind of wear.
Some students upon hearing about early problems with the bike, looked at it and said, “It is good enough for normal people, but you are too extreme for it.” My fanciful illusions are that I am still an athlete, but when I’m being realistic, I don’t think of myself as The Steel Cracker.