Monday, November 25, 2013

Dodged a bullet

It was supposed to be an easy recovery ride.

The plan:

  • Load up the bike & gear in the pickup.
  • Drive to Sky Nursery so Kasia could do a little plant shopping.
  • While Kasia was shopping, I'd have a nice, easy, relaxing ride on the Interurban Trail.

Such a simple plan, such a horrible outcome.

Everything went well until I started riding. A couple of miles down the trail, I heard an annoying clicking sound coming from my bike. It seemed to happen primarily when I applied pressure to the left crank. It also sounded familiar.

I heard a similar noise during my most recent century ride. It started about 3/4 mile from my home while I was standing on the pedals and cranking up the last hill of the day. I assumed it was something loose in the rear rack, or a loose fender. I looked the bike over when I got home, and everything seemed OK.

Today, it was worse. I stopped to examine the bike, but again, everything seemed OK. I pressed on down the trail. At about the 3.5 mile point, I stopped again. A little voice in my head told me "this is bad", so I cut my ~25 mile ride short and headed back to the truck. On the way back I convinced myself that the problem was probably a loose crank, or maybe a worn-out bottom bracket.

About 100 yards from the truck, the bike started to feel strange. The steering felt, for lack of a better word, "wobbly". 

We packed the bike and Kasia's new plants into the truck and headed home. Once home, we unloaded the bike and examined it carefully.

Kasia was the first to spot the problem. Before she said a word I could tell, just from the look in her eyes, that it was bad. She found:

The Crack of Death
The crack is in the down tube, near the upper bottle mount (my bike has two bottle cages on the down tube and one on the seat tube). The crack appears to go through about 3/4 of the tube.

This could have ended very badly. When I think about the possible outcomes had the tube failed catastrophically, it takes my breath away.

I have a call in to Co-Motion to discuss repairs. Let's hope for the best.

UPDATE: Co-Motion graciously repaired the frame under warranty, despite evidence of a dent in the down tube. I've never crashed the bike, so the dent was probably from something minor and relatively insignificant -- maybe as a result of the bike falling over when parked.

Since the repair, I've put many thousands of miles on the bike, including the Cascade 1200K, the Crater Lake 1000K, and the Big Guns 1016K (Portland, OR to Whitefish, MT). The bike has performed flawlessly!

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