Twirling the thingy

September 21, 2015 § 17 Comments

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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