Thursday, April 30, 2009


Wednesday's forecast called for thunderstorms all day. With that, I planned to take advantage of the pending downtime for some overdue maintenance on Old Yeller.

It had been over a month since 'Yeller's last cleaning. And with likely rain/thunder in the forecast, there wasn't a rush job on the order. So the night before, I had removed the chain (Wipperman Connex link) and dropped it into an old Gatorade bottle filled with Simple Green. After removing the wheels, I washed and shined Old Yeller's frame and crank. Then I went to town on the wheels, scrubbing outside-in to remove all that lovely filth. Then I brought back the factory luster to the cassette. Finally before going to bed, I re-assembled everything on the bike except for the chain. It was going to soak overnight.

Just in case the weatherman was wrong, I got up a early Wednesday to finish cleaning and installing the chain. After its scrubbing, I checked for chain-stretch and found it interesting that it showed little signs of wear. That was odd since I've had it for over a year. But it wasn't until I went to attach the Wipperman Connex piece -- and found the SRAM powerlink instead -- that I realized what had happened. In a pre-coffee stupor, I had inadvertently grabbed the other Gatorade bottle containing my commuter's 8 speed SRAM chain. Crap! Yep. There, still sitting on the shelf was the 9 speed Shimano chain still needing to be scrubbed. And now I was now out of time and had to leave for it for later. Double crap!

Later that morning, I called the LBS to inquire how an 8 speed might fare on a 9 speed cassette. It wasn't advised. Although I could probably ride it once without doing too much damage to chain or cassette, the shifting wouldn't be crisp and there may be jumping issues. I took note and decided that since the ride was likely to be canceled, I'd replace the chain later that evening.

But at 4:00 PM, I looked out the window and saw that the streets were drying. The radar also looked promising. I sent an IM to fellow rider and carpooler, Shim, to see what he thought. He said to make the call.

By "the call" I assumed that he meant to call the weatherman. So I did. I called KETV and asked to speak with weatherman Bill Randby, who was preparing a fresh forecast for the 5:00 PM news. They patched me right through.

Bill: This is Bill Randby
Brady: Hi Bill. Say, I was wondering if you'd give me a personal weather forecast for Omaha and Ft Calhoun between the hours of 6-8 PM this evening.
Bill: Well, that's hard to say. There's a chance that we could have a couple bands of rain coming through yet this evening. I wish I could tell you something more concrete, but that's about the best I can say.

Now I appreciate the fact that Bill Randby took my call <== He really did. But gosh, I mean, was that it? A chance for a few rain bands? Anyway, I thanked Bill for his time and decided that it was time to get busy.

That next moment, I realized that I wasn't mentally or physically prepared for the ride. Mentally, because I had spent the past 24 hrs writing off the ride. Physically, because I hadn't taken care of nutrition: just thirty minutes prior, I polished off a bag of Jimmy John's extra salty potato chips. Delicious. And prior to that, downing my third cup of coffee with practically no water for the day. My kidneys felt like a couple sacks of Morton's.

On top of that, I had to get my driver, Shim, to swing by the house to pick up the bike, assemble a bag with riding kit, shoes, helmet, food, water bottles and saddle pack from my TT bike (just in case I needed to offer Lucas assistance). Oh, and the chain! Couldn't forget the chain.

But there I was at 5:20 PM heading from the house to Shim's car with bike and bag of gear. Then I remember the chain. Crap! Quickly, I fish it out of the Gatorade bottle, wipe it down and stuff in a plastic sack for a last minute installation at the store.

By 5:35, we arrived, got changed, filled water bottles while stuffing nutrition bars in mouth. I then reinstalled the chain, purchased a bottle of Dumond Tech oil and lubed the chain. Meanwhile, Lucas was tapping his foot and saying, "Any time you're ready, Murphy."

Finally! While rolling down the Keystone a few minutes later, I relate to Paul Webb that it was everything I could do to be able to make the ride that evening. The only thing I didn't accomplish was topping off the pressure on the tires.

Paul said, "You really aught to plan ahead."

Well Paul, my long range forecast says that there's a chance that I'll be ready next week at 5:45. I wish I could tell you something more concrete, but that's about the best I can say.


  1. do you count toothpicks that fall on the floor....81-81-81

    I know dad only let you drive on the driveway, only on Tuesday, never on Thursday.

  2. That sounds so crazy, calling the weather man and asking for a personal forecast. :)

    Imagine calling up Rob McCartney and asking him, "What's happening around my neighborhood?"

    Bad forecasting got me this morning, too. I only have one headlight, so last night I looked at the forecast to check for rain. Only %20 chance. So I moved the headlight to the Schwinn with no fenders. This morning I rode with Roxanne to her job near 90th and Maple. Sure enough, it was raining, and no time to move the headlight back.

    I arrived at the bus stop with a soiled bottom. I've got a new lightset coming from Amazon. I'm excited to see the 1 Watt Planet Bike Blaze on the ten speed.

  3. Soiled bottom? Sounds like Brady 1973!

    As I don't usually like to brag, turns out that me and BSNYC are on the same page that fenders are da-bomb for my 1976 fixed gear Schwinn Varsity conversion.

    I also (thought) I overpaid for a Tri Newt head lamp, but geez, I can melt polyester with it when I commute--or feel like a super-hero sending a laser beam into the eyes of mini-vans drivers who are talking on their cell phones....making sure they know I am coming up on their left.

    I'd love to get the clip-on fenders for my road bike.