Four Days Later
OK it is four days later and I have my shiny new Park FR2 hub removal tool locked into the vice, the wheel with the broken spoke attached and I Am Ready. The instructional video on the 'net had said it would take a lot of torque, and I should not be surprised to hear a loud snap as the rig broke loose. “OK”, I reviewed, “Torque, snap, here we go!” I applied torque. Nothing happened. Okey dokey, let's try that again, only with feeling. “Hunh!” I exclaimed, torquing with everything I had. SNAP! Alright! Hell yeah! That sure went better than last year. Now let's take this thing apart and get that spoke replaced! I got training rides to do!. I gleefully loosened the vice and lifted the wheel. I undid the quick release skewer that was holding the trusty Park tool to the axle. I confidently gave the hub a spin with my hand, the way the guy in the video had done. Except that in the video the hub had spun off eagerly into the mechanic's hand and he had held the shining part towards the camera with a triumphant grin. He was a pretty young guy. In my case the hub spun easily, but the wheel spun with it. I gripped the rim and tried to turn the hub, but it would not give. OK, I thought I'll just put the removal tool back on and get out that big pipe wrench. I picked up the tool and as I was starting to re-attach it to the wheel a glint of shiny metal caught my eye. I looked closer. Huh? The damn two contact points on the tool were sheared clean off! I looked at the hub more closely. The notches on the axle meant to receive the prongs on the tool were rounded, stripped. Eff You See Kay!
Evolution or Divine Plan?
`Now what? I stood there, holding the Park FR2 removal tool in my left hand and the pipe wrench in my right hand, staring intently from one to the other, waiting for divine inspiration. I must have looked like an ape holding a stick and a rock. Well, uh, OK then...Step Away From the Bike.
Always Leave An Avenue Of Retreat: Plan B
Well, the truth is, that speed-lab witch's coven homeless janitor bike shop ain't the only game in town. No, indeed. Many years ago on the main street of our village there was a very nice old bike shop that in those days was in fact the only game in town, bike-wise. It was owned and operated by a very large genial gentleman named Harvey who possessed apparently magical powers of bicycle prognosis and repair and was gifted with an hilarious raconteur style and was always wearing a leather work apron and a big smile topped off with a huge handlebar mustache. Walking into his shop you felt like you had wandered onto the set of a period movie and you were the star of the movie who had just decided to purchase a bicycle built for two for with to woo your heart's true love...but that was then.
Harvey at some point decided to retire and pursue his other favorite pastime which was deep water fishing in the fertile waters off our Atlantic coast. He sold the shop to a recently immigrated Australian refugee, bought a Big Boat and was never seen again, at least not by me. The Australian, glad as hell to be a New Capitalist in the Land of Promise, moved the Old Time Bicycle Shop off Main Street to a much better location out by the Interstate. He added a line of motor scooters, then another line of those four wheel drive things that crash around out in the woods, installed a bunch of clothing racks for very high priced insulated camouflage pants and jackets and so on...even though where we live here in Florida it seldom gets cold enough for more than a light sweater and windbreaker. He was trying like hell to market to what (as best I could tell) was that particular crowd who find it necessary to be constantly prepared for annihilation and the ensuing eternal nuclear winter. They would need that insulated crap and those four wheel drive things when it became necessary to cruise around in the cold armed to the teeth and looking to kill their food and each other while on the way to Wal-Mart or Seven-Eleven....
I had visited this shop once before looking for some minor repair work and was enthralled by the big new interstate glitzy-ness of the place. When I walked in I was instantly surrounded by enthusiastic and shiny young salespeople eager to help me, but upon finding out I wasn't there for camo or motor sports vehicles they rapidly lost interest and wandered off in search of more lucrative prey. I managed to find the bicycle repair area, hidden off in a far corner of the building. I forget what I went there for back then, but I didn't get it and I didn't go back after that and I was never seen again, at least not by them.
I Return To OZ
But now...well, a desperate man will do desperate things and so I found myself once again crossing the threshold of the New Old Bike Shop. They had now added a line of motorcycles, at least they looked like motorcycles, although I find the modern motorcycle to resemble some kind of huge insect not fully formed but dangerous just the same. Plus there were some of those water motorcycles that also resemble large insects not fully formed but waterborne and just as dangerous. There were maybe twenty bicycles for sale in the shop and all of them were those “comfort” bikes or hybrids, I think they are called. But there in the corner was the repair area. I humbly held out the wheel to the young sir behind the counter who said “we're swamped” but I'll have it Monday.” Are you sure, I said, you can get those sprockets off? No problem just call Monday. OK.
Well it's Wednesday. I called yesterday and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. Uh oh. But the third person to come on the line said here it is...call back tomorrow. So....tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow... more later...
Whispering Pines Trailer Court and Bicycle Emporium