First there was the pesky flat tire on the Pine Mountain 1 I'm borrowing until Marin files a police report:
After reading every single flat fix instructional in the Bicycling magazine archives (there are over 26,000 of them) I was convinced I could do the job myself, and so I rolled up my sleeves and got to it. First I locked out the derailleur with this clever little button SRAM is using now isn't that handy what'll they think of next:
(Sarcasm aside, it is pretty handy.)
Then, using the six-inch fingernails I've grown specifically for this purpose (I harden them with lacquer), I prized the tire bead from the rim:
It turned out to be one of those pesky flats where you can't find anything in the tire and where you can't find a hole in the tube even after inflating the thing to comical proportions, moistening your lips, and running them around the periphery. The wheels are tubeless ready, and I had half a mind to just dump some sealant in there and go that way, since as a semi-professional bike blogger I've got all that stuff in my vast parts closet:
However, the other half of my mind said "Fuck it," and instead I just put a new tube in there, because you see it's not my bike.
So I crossed that job off my list.
Done, and done.
It will probably be flat again by tomorrow.
Next it was time to install the new $50 artisanal bell that's been knocking around my mansion and serving as a children's toy for far too long:
Sure, I'd managed to replace an inner tube, but a full bell swap was going to push me to the very edge of my mechanical abilities. So I studied up on the bell by watching this video:
Spurcycle Bell Craft from Spurcycle on Vimeo.
USA, baby! Donald Trump approves. I'm happy to pay five times what a typical bike bell costs so I can be secure in the knowledge that it was assembled on the good side of the Mexican wall by Americans with college educations and California drawls:
See, Donald Trump is going to bring jobs back to America--good ones too, like Bicycle Bell Lubemeister:
You get into that Bicycle Bell Lubemeister union and you're looking at a starting wage of $50 an hour, plus benefits.
And that's how you Make America Great Again.
Anyway, the upshot of the video was this:
"The result is a powerfully loud bell with a convincing tone and a longer ring than any other."
That's good, because I hate unconvincing bells. You know how it is: you ring the thing and the person in front of you goes, "Was that a bell or did a chipmunk just fart?" Well, there's none of that ambiguity with the Spurcycle. It resonates decisively in the unmistakable timbre of liberty.
I was excited to join this rarefied new world, but first I'd have to remove my old bell:
This was a daunting notion, and for awhile I considered just leaving it on there and running two bells. Sure, it was cowardly, but I could justify it by performing a test wherein I ring the cheap bell and then the expensive bell and then compare people's reactions. (Cheap bell: "Did a chipmunk just fart?" Expensive bell: "All Hail President Trump!")
Ultimately though I decided to tackle the bell removal, and after employing an exotic tool known as a "screwdriver" I eventually succeeded in doing so, but then there was a frightening stretch of time during which my bicycle had no bell at all which meant it was completely unrideable!
Finally, six hours later, I managed to install the Spurcycle:
Please note the placement of the bell is temporary until I can get access to a wind tunnel. Also, I'm going to need some sort of laser sights to level the bell for optimum sonic wave distribution:
Another source of stress is that I failed to ascertain exactly what material the clamp is made from, as well as to pen a desperate screed to Lennard Zinn asking whether I should have used some sort of assembly paste with my incredibly pretentious titanium handlebar:
And perhaps most vexing, I only noticed after installing it that the clamp has a label stamped into it!
Should the label be facing right or left?!? OH MY GOD! I am clearly not ready for high-end bell ownership.
Nevertheless, I set my anxiety aside temporarily and looked for an expensive vehicle worthy of my expensive bell's sonorous chime, but I'd missed the morning drop-off at the fancy prep school and any remaining luxury cars were parked:
Indeed, the only vehicle even remotely in my way was a Ford Fusion, and there was no way I was wasting a $50 ring on that.
So I continued on into the northern suburbs in search of wealthy people walking purebred dogs, but they'd long since headed into Manhattan:
So in the end I was left to contemplate the bell's elegance, as well as its resemblance to various parts of the human anatomy, including but not limited to the eyeball, the mammary, and the phallus:
As of press time though I have yet to ring it.
I'm saving that for something special, such as a double-parked Tesla or a jaywalking Dalai Lama.