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Took the bicycle out for some trials, and…

June 17, 2014, 3:52 PM

Took the bicycle out for the first time today:

The bicycle in the parking lot for the Matthew Henson Trail

The goal of today’s trip was to get used to riding the bicycle by going around in the parking lot for the Matthew Henson Trail, testing out all of the bicycle’s different functions while riding around the lot.  Then following the conclusion of trials, I was going to take it on a short maiden voyage down the Matthew Henson Trail, and then back down my street.

In doing the trials, I have a new appreciation for the expression “it’s like riding a bike” when it comes to jumping back into things that you haven’t done for a while.  Once I got the seat set to the right height, it all came right back, and I got going pretty quickly.  I got up to speed, and felt comfortable doing so, though I did ride around the speed bumps rather than go over them.  Bumps still make me nervous after a few wipeouts on tiny bumps with that scooter that I had in the early 2000s.  But it’s okay.  I’ll work my way up to it.  I also got used to the shifters, which are different from the old Huffy bicycle that I had in the 1990s.  These are not levers on top of the handlebars, but rather, you twist the knob on the handlebars.

However, the shifters eventually caused an early end to this mission.  I managed to knock the chain off entirely, and got it jammed up in places in the process.  I extricated the chain and got it back on the gears easily enough, but then when I went to start up again, the pedals would seize up.  Same place on multiple starts.  Turns out that this happened:

The chain, chewed up ever so slightly.

Turns out that when the chain jumped the gears, the chain also got chewed up a little bit.  And it was just enough to make the bike undrivable.  Well, great.  Now I have to go over to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Gaithersburg to get the chain fixed.  I’ll do that tomorrow.  Considering that this was the first time out on this bicycle, I’m hoping that this repair will be covered under warranty.  Only two links on the chain got bent, but that was enough to knock it out.  The worst one is that top link that you see edge-on in the above photograph.  I”m pretty sure that’s the one that’s causing the seizing.  But once I get the chain fixed, I should be good to go.

I’m inclined to think that this chain failure was my fault due to inexperience in shifting, but considering that this is a brand new bike, I’m not willing to completely rule out that it’s in equipment issue.  I’ll let the guy at Dick’s give it a look over, and we’ll see.  The chain failed over the front gears, and the front shifter doesn’t have numbers on it like the rear shifter does, so it’s possible that I shifted too much at once and caused the failure.  Rookie mistake, and hopefully this won’t cost me anything.  And thankfully, this issue didn’t involve my wiping out.  I never fell over, since when the pedals seized up, I just stopped pedaling, and made a normal stop.

So there you have it.  I’ll try the maiden voyage another day, after I get the chain fixed.  I do want to start taking the bicycle for shorter trips when feasible rather than taking the car, since it saves on gas, plus it’s good exercise.  But I definitely have a lot to learn about this bicycle, that’s for sure.

Categories: Bicycle