For most of August, I was lucky to have the morning and daylight to let me take the long loop around the northern part of Lake Sammamish in the morning. The extra ten miles is nearly flat, adding variety to my otherwise hilly commute. It also gets me away from the noise and deconstruction around I-90.


Then, in the beginning of this month, I had a series of 8:00 a.m. conference calls or “set up my computer for this show I’m going to,” encroaching on my ability to exercise that work-life balance. While I saved time by driving in, the drive home was a stark reminder why I am much happier on a bike. How the hell did I put up with it for all those years?  (Okay, besides audio books.)

Two Fridays ago, on an absolutely “this is why I live in the Northwest” gorgeous day, I had the morning free. On the way in,I noticed some wobbliness riding. I rationalized this as the (usual) crosswind whipping across the plateau. However, as I was blasting down a sinuous hill, I hit a speed bump, heard the pop whup whup whup whup. Braking with the front wheel wasn’t working too well, so I skirted a bush to help slow down.  No injuries, one spoke snapped, and two spokes deformed.  Just like the  randonneurs mailing list said.

The wheel’s proprietary spokes need to be ordered from the distant asteroid from where they are manufactured.  There is a warranty option that the LBS will process concurrently, though that will take some time.  I’ve ordered a beefier set of standardized wheels for the winter. These won’t arrive until the first week of October.

It’s interesting what one gets used to. After 2700 miles on the new bike, the four days of the Friday’s … uh, spunkiness weren’t as fun as I remember it. (However, its disc brakes rock.) John‘s graciously offered the use of his warranty replacement wheel for a few weeks while this gets sorted out.

4 thoughts on “Spokesongs”

  1. I’m glad you weren’t hurt! Is “skirting” a technical biker term that involves more physical contact than the usual use of the term? 🙂

    Good luck with the repair! Will we get photos? 🙂

  2. This reminds me a conversation my cousin and I had right after he started driving. It didn’t take us long to agree that if it looks like someone is going to hit you head on that a better choice was the parked cars. So, yeah, always go for the bush. And I agree: glad it was just the bike that got bent out of shape.

  3. Kiri – your definition of skirting is correct. Bushes are squishier than pavement 🙂 I didn’t take photos of the wheel.

    Doug – I’m getting out later and later this time of year; usually I’ll go around the lake around 8am. In a few weeks, I’ll clip my lights on and get my ass out of bed earlier. Since I can’t get out of the office on time, I usually come back via the I-90 corridor.

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