Twirling the thingy

I went out for a ride today with my new titanium pulley wheels, forged in the metalworks of Thorin Oakenshield’s factory deep underground, made lovingly with the hands of ancient dwarf craftsmen, and finished with miniature dragon eggs for bearings. Tres chic, tres trick. If you want to ride fast these days, you need dwarves, titanium, and dragon eggs.

Then after a bit the derailleur thingy wouldn’t shift right and made that clickety-clickety sound, so after descending Hawthorne and turning right onto PV Drive West I pulled over to try and adjust it by twirling the little spinner thingy on the derailleur cable. Holding the bike in the air with one hand and pedaling with the other was a pain and just then a guy whizzed by and gave me the ol’ cyclist throwaway line of, “You okay?” spoken, of course, at thirty.

As he disappeared from sight I screamed, “Are you any good with DERAILLEURS?”

He locked ’em up, burned off most of the tread on his rear tire and did a u-turn, but unlike Prez he checked to make sure no one was behind him. He rode up. “What’d you say?”

I was seated on the curb in my baggy pants, skate shoes, and t-shirt, going full Fred. “Are you any good at derailleurs? I can’t get this thing to shift right.”

“Nope,” he said, “but I can lift it up so you can use one hand to pedal and the other to twirl the thingy.”

I looked at him in awe. “I thought I was the only one who called it that.”

I twirled the thingy so that it got really awful, then I twirled it the other way so it got even more awful, and finally I was just twirling it to try and make it as bad as it had been when I stopped, which had been bad, but tolerably so, as opposed to now, when instead of going clickety-click it was going clackety-clack-donk, and the donk had me worried.

It also wouldn’t get up on the 25 when I was in the 53. “That’s a bad gear combo anyway,” Eric said. His name was Eric Eastland.

“It’s the principle of the thing,” I cursed.

We finally gave up and rode on together, with the clackety-clack-donk beating a terrible rhythm, like a dyslexic drummer or someone trying to run across the desert in Dune in irregular steps so as not to get eaten by a sand worm.

“You live here?” asked Eric.

“Yeah. You?”

“Not anymore. I live in Bend but I’m here every other week on business.”

“What kind of business is that?”

“Stages for large performances.”

“Wow. How large?”

“Oh, the big stuff. Rolling Stones, that kind of thing.”

“Well, we’re having a really tiny event on October 17 and we kind of need a stage.”

“Really? What kind of event?”

“It’s called the South Bay Cycling Awards but it’s much less classy than the name sounds. Cyclists and beer, mostly, and a big inflatable penis.”

“I have a mini stage that you might be able to use,” he said. Eric’s a big supporter of cycling, promotes events in Bend, and will do almost anything to assist the sport, even though it’s not really a sport. Before long we’d exchanged information and it was, well, awesome.

I rode over to Boozy P.’s to get the clackety-donk repaired. He threw it up on the stand for about thirty seconds and fiddled with some cables. The noise went away.

“Wow,” I said. “That was quick. What was wrong with the derailleur?”

“Nothing,” he said. “It was your brakes.”



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17 thoughts on “Twirling the thingy”

  1. I just blew coffee all over the screen, Wanky, with that last line.

    Is it great when serendipity steps in and connects a couple of song lines like that? A stage? What’s next, a back up band?

  2. Never thought Id see a fremen reference on here. Also, wait till you get disc brakes! The donk is just the start.

  3. Ahh those brakes, they’ll get you every time.

    Lady at work picked up the cheapest, nastiest, piece of two wheeled machinery to get her the 5kms from home via the flat bikepaths to work. On the first day she rode to work, she was all excited and wanted to show me her bike, “it’s a red one”.

    While oohing and ahhing appreciatively at her new purchase, she mentioned that the shop hadn’t done a bike fit for her, the saddle was slipping and the brakes didn’t really work. A quick adjustment to the QR for the seatpost had that bit sorted, but the brakes, oh my the brakes. The pads were 2cm out from the rim on both sides as well as front and back, no wonder they didn’t work. I had to twirl the thingy at the brake as well as the thingy at the lever to get the pads close enough to work reliably.

    Will wait til I commute in at the end of the week and have the toolkit in my saddle bag before I rewind all the thingy’s and tighten up the brake cables the way they should have been from the get go.

    Brakes, who needs em?

  4. You just need an annoying click from your widgets and that will be the dancing poles sorted.

  5. Pingback: Morning Links: Gov. Brown approves bike rider traffic school, too much Seth, and Peter Flax pens two must reads |

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