Monday, February 27, 2012

I Have a Bad Feeling about This

With two of my three bikes in the shop for repairs, I rode to work on Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist. Nellie has little wheels so the ride is comparable to the bike I rode in 1st grade.  The upside of little wheels is the responsive steering and quick acceleration. The downside is the harsh ride (quite hard on my back) and the fact that little holes in the road pose a danger. 

I made it to work uneventfully, despite the fact that my left hand had trouble gripping the brake lever.  This was an after effect of my bike crash over the weekend. I also was kind of groggy from staying up late to watch the Academy Awards on TV. No worries. I made it in one piece and was even treated to a bald eagle sighting at the Belle Haven nest.  Seeing a bald eagle, majestic in the early morning light, perched high above the trail always makes my day..

During the day I received an email telling me that the Sequoia was ready for pick up. Excellent news, dude.  The ride home was considerably warmer than the morning commute but the head wind made for an honest bit of work. I noticed that the left hand was now functioning properly, no doubt the result of the ingestion of Vitamin I (ibuprofen) during the day.

I dropped Little Nelllie at home and jumped in the car to retrieve the Sequoia.  Fred, my long-time mechanic, had bent the fork back into place evenly. It felt fine but it was still about 1/2 inch to close to the frame.  My toes overlapped with the front wheel, surely a recipe for disaster. I returned the bike and we'll see if Fred can salvage my baby.

If he can't I have two options. Option one would be to buy a new fork. The odds of this working out are not real good. It's a 19 year old bike after all.  Option two would be to say good bye to an old friend and buy a new bike. This is a nightmare, not because of the expense, but because I am an utterly incompetent consumer.   I suppose this is a good thing, because otherwise I'd have ten bikes instead of three. 

So will see if Fred can tweak the fork a bit more and go from there. Little Nellie gets the call again tomorrow. She doesn't mind.  It's lonely being home alone.


  1. I'm assuming that the frame is OK; it would be surprising to bend the frame *and* fork without a catastrophic crash. Typically you would see some obvious crimping on the top and/or down tube right behind the head tube. Although anything is possible. With that in mind, a custom fork is ~$300.

    How much is a visit to the dentist to fix your teeth or alternative body part?

    I'd probably e-mail Tom Matchak about the fork ...

    BTW, how incompetent of a consumer can you be if you still ride and love your 19-year-old bike?

  2. I agree with 'Invisible Hand'. I think you made a pretty competent decision when you bought that bike 19 years ago.. I would suggest that incompetent consumers are those that keep on changing their bikes.


  3. I don't much care for small-wheeled bikes either, for a number of reasons, so when I was looking for a folding bike, I got one with full-size wheels. Solves the bumpy ride problem, and I also like the way it handles better.

  4. Time will tell. I hope to hear from Fred about his second attempt tonight or tomorrow. If that doesn't work I am open to suggestions as to what will.

  5. The odds of buying a new fork, and having it function just like the original, actually are excellent. The Sequoia has a well known geometry, and the same (or equivalent) fork materials are available today. Work with a frame builder who's building modern frames in the style of the Sequoia, have a replacement fork built, and get back to enjoying that bike.

    As already mentioned, be sure to inspect the frame for any signs of DT or TT buckling near the HT as a result of the impact which damaged the fork. And, importantly, inspect that fork for a bent steerer tube.....if so, your LBS isn't going to restore that fork.