walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mystery of the Disappearing Seatpost

In anticipation of a potentially-rainy ride later on, I decided to take Swift this morning instead of Quicksilver (Swift has fenders).

It's worth noting that Swift was most recently adjusted for DD. DD's legs are shorter than mine, though he's an inch or so taller overall. Likewise, he weighs some 25 lbs less than I do (I'm sure you're wondering why that last point actually matters at all). I opted not to adjust the height based on the Universal 'Close 'Nuff for Gub'ment Work' Clause — in other words, I was running late, and wanted to get my rump on the road.

I will confess that after a few weeks going 'all-road-bike, all-the-time,' I felt like I was sitting bolt upright. Likewise, it took me roughly a minute to adjust to the differences in handling — Swift handles smoothly, but not as sharply as Quicksilver.

Oddly, I also felt a bit self-conscious at first. Somehow, I never feel weird riding around in my lycra shorts and bright red un-jersey (a recycled 'technical' polo/golf-type shirt) on the road bike, but on the hybrid, suddenly I found myself expecting drivers to think I looked really strange. The truth behind this is that I thought I looked a little strange. Generally speaking, one does not often see lycra-clad dynamos zipping around on hybrids. Also, between the green bike and the red jersey, I suspect I looked a lot like Christmas In July On Wheels. At least my helmet is a rather-sedate charcoal grey.

As I rode, I found that the seatpost-height difference was noticeable, but not enough to be a big problem. When I needed to be able to extend my legs all the way to send a little more power through the cranks, I just stood up. Usually I'm too lazy for that — I only get off the saddle when I absolutely must.

By the time I made it out onto Southern Parkway, I was no longer feeling self-conscious. In fact, I was feeling quite delighted, sailing along in the big ring (there is rarely any reason to shift out of the big ring on Swift -- it's 48t), enjoying my ride.

Yet, little by little, I became aware of a sinking sensation: that is, by the time I reached the spot where Southern branches off into Third and Fourth streets, I was pretty sure that the seatpost was a hair shorter than it had been when I'd left.

As I turned onto my favorite cobbled alley, which runs parallel to 3rd, I became even more convinced.

At last, I hit a frost heave while turning onto 7th, and my suspicions were confirmed — the seatpost sank suddenly and, quite frankly, alarmingly, then pivoted to the right. I used weight and leverage to swing it back around, but I must say I was feeling quite perturbed.

Fortunately, by this point, I was only a few blocks from work. I rode the rest of the way, sinking in increments, and tied up at the bike rack outside. Of course, the Laws of Universal Perversity being what they are, I had opted not to transfer my bar bag from Quicksilver to Swift — so I have a frame pump and a CO2 cartridge, but no hex wrenches.

My guess is that when we last adjusted DD's seat-post height, whichever one of us tightened the seatpost collar did so just enough to support his weight without slipping, but not quite enough to support mine.

Needless to say, I plan to lay hands on some hex keys when I take my lunch break so I can fix the ding-dang-darned seat post. I need a back-up set anyway (as if the twenty-three sets that DD and I have between us weren't enough).

Also, oh, look! It's me:
I'm in the 1st photo from 'A Good First Century' — on the left, in the burgundy shirt. The fellow in orange is Murphy, the RC who saved my life with chocoalte GU.

Oh, and here I am again:
Here, Murphy appears to be casting a spell.

And here's DD's truck at the lunch stop:
DD's Truck and a bunch of awesome cyclists

Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any pictures of the group I was riding with, except possibly this one. The fellow standing up in orange may be one of the Kevins. I seem to recall that he was one of many clad in orange.

Oh, and here I am looking dejected in the background of a shot of some tandem folks:
Dejected? Not really; I was just obsessing about my toe clips. The truck beside me is DD's.

Actually, my favorite picture from this series doesn't involve me at all:
Oh, no! A flat tire!

I love this shot — it captures the warmth and humor that typify the members of Louisville Bicycle Club.

P.S. I had absolutely no idea photos were being taken. I'm glad I didn't, because I would've felt seriously self-conscious being a lycra-clad fatty in pictures. I am also really glad someone got some shots of the group, because I was kind of sad that I didn't have any photos from my first attempted century ride.

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