Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sorry I'm Late, I Had a Mechanical

Last Friday I forgot my lock like an idiot, and once again I have found myself underprepared for a bicycle ride:


(Good for you, assholes.)

Given the beguiling combination of unseasonably warm temperatures and autumn foliage we're currently experiencing, I figured I'd be a real schmuck if I didn't head out this morning for a mountain bike ride.  So that's just what I did, and you can believe me when I tell you I was congratulating myself the whole time for shirking my relatively few responsibilities in order to indulge in some of the finest mall-adjacent all-terrain bicycling Yonkers has to offer:


I had just scaled a particularly steep climb when I noticed my chain was skipping a bit, which is odd, because my antique hand-curated 1x9 drivetrain usually works flawlessly.  After twiddling my barrel adjuster a bit (gigglechortle) to no avail, it finally occurred to me to look downward, and I noticed that my chain watcher/catcher/dingle-dangle-whatever-you-want-to-call-it thingy was all askew.  Clearly something had knocked it out of whack and it was interfering with my chain.  So I straightened it out and continued, and it happened again, so I fixed it again, and it happened yet again.  So I lay the bike down in frustration:


As I stared at it, it became clear to me that my kludgy drivetrain was hopelessly outmoded and that I needed to upgrade to one of those new fancy-pants dedicated 1x11 drivetrains with the clutch derailleur and the special chainring and the hi-drolic dick breaks and all the rest of it.  So I whipped out my smartphone, filled a virtual shopping cart with hundreds of dollars of bike parts, and was listening for the sound of the delivery drone when I had a crazy idea:

"Maybe I should look at the chain."

So I did, and that's when I noticed it was broken:


"Hmmm, that might explain my poor shifting performance," I thought.

It was at that point the drone arrived, so I smashed it with a rock, buried its payload, covered the spot with some dead leaves, and informed the online retailer that I'd never received my order.

They refunded my money immediately.

Suckers.

Unrelated, if anyone wants a fancy-pants 1x11 drivetrain I'll sell you one cheap.  Brand new, never used, some dirt on the packaging.  Cash only.

Anyway, so there I was with a broken chain, which is no big deal, since I always carry a chain tool when I go mountain biking.  All I had to do was remove the offending link, close the chain again, and avoid my lowest gear.  No problem.  So I opened my voluminous saddle bag and it shouldn't surprise you at all to learn there was no chain tool in there.  Nor was there one in my backpack, which is the second place I looked.

The courteous fellows who stopped and asked me if I needed anything didn't have one either.

Most vexing was that I'd once found a chain tool in almost this exact spot.  I carried it around thinking maybe I'd bump into the owner, and when I didn't I just kept it.  It now dawned on me that this rider had probably stopped here to fix a chain and forgotten it.  Now here I was in need of a chain tool and I didn't have one.  It was karma, or something.

Of course the chain had not given way completely, so I shifted into the straightest chainline possible and gently pedaled to the nearest bike shop.  (In case you're wondering what the retail price on a Park CT-5 is in an actual brick-and-mortar bike shop is these days, it's like two hundred bucks.)  I also picked up some lunch and treated myself to an ice-cold Coca-Cola for my troubles, and when I went to pop it open here's what happened:


Man, this country's going down the tubes.

Fortunately I had my chain tool, so I was able to rectify the situation:


Delicious.

By the way, if you would like to weigh in on why my chain broke and how it's my fault (it was too long, it was too short, it was the wrong brand, it was lubed incorrectly, it was installed upside-down, etc.) please leave your comments here.

In other news, we've been hearing a lot about how Sky and other pro cycling teams enjoy the painkiller Tramadol:


Former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, in a BBC report today, questioned Bradley Wiggins' use of a powerful corticosteroid drug to treat his allergies.

Tiernan-Locke also revealed that the Great Britain team, at the 2012 World Championships, offered riders Tramadol "freely around," but he did not take it. "I wasn't in any pain so I didn't need to take it, and that was offered freely around. It just didn't sit well with me at the time. I thought, 'I'm not in any pain', why would I want a painkiller?'"

As I understand it, the reason they take Tramadol is that it allows them to ride through the pain, with the inconvenient side-effect that they get all wonky and crash into each other.

Anyway, here's an article in the Wall Street Journal about how Tramadol use is becoming something of a global crisis:



Indeed, apparently they use so much of the stuff in Cameroon that it's in the plants now:

Inexpensive, imported tramadol is so heavily abused in northern Cameroon that it seeps from human and animal waste into the groundwater and soil, where vegetation absorbs it, wrote Michael Spiteller and Souvik Kusari, chemists at the University of Dortmund.

Farmers in Northern Cameroon told the researchers that they take double or triple the safe dosage, and feed tramadol to cattle to help them pull plows through the scorching afternoon sun.

Hey, if it can help cattle pull plows, imagine what it must do for emaciated humans on ultralight bicycles!

It was also invented by the company that brought you thalidomide:

Dr. Flick says he developed a molecule that seemed promising. But just when he was finishing tramadol’s development, Grünenthal was overtaken by a crisis: Its popular drug thalidomide was causing catastrophic birth defects.

And refined by a former SS who cut his research teeth experimenting on prisoners:

That changed after a Grünenthal scientist, Ernst-Günther Schenck, started testing the drug. Dr. Schenck, a former Waffen SS official who conducted nutrition experiments that killed prisoners during World War II, found tramadol effective for different types of pain. And it appeared to be less addictive than other opioids. He published several papers on its efficacy, and in 1977, Germany approved tramadol for sale. Dr. Schenck died in 1998.

Now that's a pedigree.

It also goes great with coffee:

Tramadol that goes from India to Benin makes its way to places like Garoua, a smoky city in northern Cameroon where vultures circle over the edge of town. Men in caftans buy boxes labeled “Super Royal X-225” from curbside vendors for a few cents a pill. The potent red tablets are known as “tomates” because the little red apples printed on their boxes remind locals of tomatoes. Coffee sellers with outdoor stands will empty a couple of tramadol capsules into a customer’s Nescafe for 10 cents.

So look for "tomato"-infused lattes at a Rapha Cycle Club near you.

Hey, if it's good enough for Boko Haram it's good enough for the peloton:

Further north, where Cameroon narrows to a thin spit between Nigeria and Chad, the drug is popular with the terrorist group Boko Haram. “We find tramadol packets in the pockets of those we kill,” says a Cameroon army commander who oversees antiterror missions.

So there you go.

Lastly, Road World Champion Peter Sagan got lots of attention when he showed up at the UCI gala wearing this:


I'm not sure which he looks like most: a Mississippi riverboat gambler, Willy Wonka, or the guy on the corner selling Tramadol.

54 comments:

Drock said...

Oh my

N/A said...

1x11 is hopelessly outdated, you should curate a 1x13 build for maximum epicness.

Anonymous said...

POOO DUMM

Anonymous said...

Drat

cdinvb said...

Just got back from the store. Now what were you saying?

bad boy of the north said...

Those Slovaks...what will they think of next?

Anonymous said...

Noice!

bad boy of the north said...

Somehow,i'm thinking of the song "chain of fools"

1904 Cadardi said...

Clearly you need to up the list of drugs on your TUE if you can only break half a chain. A few more Tramadol in your diet and BOOM, you'd have snapped that thing clean in two.

Wrench Monkey said...

I think P.S. has a Clockwork Orange thing going on there, but the 2X world champ doesn't care what we think.

pomocomo said...

Sagan looks like jack white

Stalag 13 said...

"Waffen SS official who conducted nutrition experiments that killed prisoners during World War II"

Arff n' slogger, you vill eat another cheese burger, and uff'n, you vill eat another large order of fries.

Mermaid on the Logo said...

"tramadol is so heavily abused in northern Cameroon that it seeps from human and animal waste into the groundwater and soil, where vegetation absorbs it, wrote Michael Spiteller and Souvik Kusari, chemists at the University of Dortmund.

In Cameroon Tramadol Cafe's are as ubiquitous as Starbucks in Manhattan.

N/A said...

Was your chain gravel-ready? Probably not. Also, if you mixed up and used wet lube when you shoulda' been using dry lube, that'll bork 'em. You can't get all willy-nilly with your chain application and maintenance, Wildcat.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a more dapper Bob Dylan.

McFly said...

1 X 9 is the only way to go.

McFly said...

Tramadol is like sucking on a titty through a wool sweater.

Grump said...

Snobby, If I were you, I'd blame the entire world for your chain mishap before thinking that it might have been the chain installer who didn't set the pin correctly in the first place. You could claim that the entire Bike industry was "fixed" against you, and there was a Huge plot by the media.....I mean bike shops, too spoil your ride. You could whine about it for a week or two before people get fed up and just say..."Shut up, shut up, shut up, I give up....anything you want...Just shut up".

bieks said...

He should have asked Cipo to lend him some proper shoes.

DB said...

What's this about Procol Harem?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Against your explicit warning not to do so, I recommend that you change out your chain more frequently to avoid such misfortunre in the future.

I know from the recent photographic evidence that you are concerned with messing up your perfectly-manicured nails, but sack up, man...

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Wow, Top Twenty at 3pm. Running late, thought I was pregnant.

BikeSnobNYC said...

wishiwasmerckx,

Yeah, the replacement chain I bought like a year ago and never got around to installing is waiting in a drawer for me.

--Wildcat Etc.

Cat 404 said...

You're soooo stylin' Petre.

A cane! One's gotta rest their core.

That's the greatest accessory since the urban axechet.

I want mine to be raw crabon fibre with a Cinelli quill stem for the crook at the top.

CommieCanuck said...

The more I read about Pro cycling doping, the more Fukitol tablets I take.I'm up to 4000mg.

The remedy for a broken chain fix while Mtn biking is simple, no tools, just grab a squirrel, snap the head off (I find biting works well), then remove the rear hind limb tendons with your teeth, use this to tie between the broken links. Also works with: raccoons, possums, beavers (giggity), rats and chipmunks. Enjoy the rest of your ride. Chain tools are for women and woosies.

Some guy from upstate said...

My wife takes tramadol sometimes, and she rides really slow, so it must not work. There you go, science.

CommieCanuck said...

I'm not sure which he looks like most: a Mississippi riverboat gambler, Willy Wonka, or the guy on the corner selling Tramadol.

I was going to go with Kid Rock at his senior prom.

leroy said...

My dog insists he should be praised for not observing that this proves there are scary clowns in the woods.

But I told him he's going to have to up his game if he wants the "Who's a good boy, who's a good boy, you are, you are" validation.


Anonymous said...

McFly,
How is Tramadol like sucking on a titty through a wool sweater? I'm not disagreein, I'm interested. I just like anything to do with with titties and sweaters.

dem_bieks! said...

Snobby, now that you are old, you should keep at least one more link in the chain. The days of the chain length mattering so much are left to cat 5's buying carbon wheels.


If you keep your chain longer, When the chain tool arrives via drone, in a plastic display box you can't open, remove the offending link with your bare hands and enjoy the rest of the ride.

McFly said...

It's no where near as good as the real deal (Hydrocodone, demorol, Oxycodone, etc). That's just my personal experience with tramadol, or ultram as it's known. It's what they give you when you have addiction issues and can't have the good stuff.

Titties are just good go to euphemism.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

At least P.S. will be in good shape if it floods.

1904 Cadardi said...

CC,

Is Fukitol a stronger version of Damnitol?

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

Woooohooo! Kaboom and digity! 34th. Read it suckers 3 4 t h !

Ben from Cycleworks said...

Thanks for reminding me to pack a chain breaker - sorry neither of us had one. Hope the rest of your ride was better!

-Courteous Fellow (Had no idea that was you!)

Ric said...

"tramadol is so heavily abused in northern Cameroon that it seeps from human and animal waste into the groundwater and soil, where vegetation absorbs it, wrote Michael Spiteller and Souvik Kusari, chemists at the University of Dortmund.

Kind of makes me wonder if eventually Cameroon will have a completely closed Tramadol cycle. Just like that sealed bottle containing a fish, an aquatic plant, and a snail.

Frickus Rungus said...

My chain is completely made of "quick links" so I never need a chain tool.
In a related note: Does anyone need 104 chains that are new, but missing the quick link?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Ben from Cycleworks,

Hey, thanks for stopping! I can't really complain too much about a broken chain scenario that doesn't end with crotch-on-top-tube contact.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Warning warning! That drink is poisonous. Only good for cleaning toilet bowls.

Hal 9000

bad boy of the north said...

Any fondon't rides being planned before the end of sixteen?

Wild One said...

We know Wildcat is a chain breaker, not sure if he's a tool though.

8carlisle said...

That missing link comment was really funny but then I realized you would only need 52 chains.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry I'm late, I had a mechanical"
In some circles in Melbourne, Australia, that is the only reasonably accepted excuse for no-showing on a group's morning ride... a mechanical being, of course, a euphemism for a particularly energetic night with someone special.

babble on said...

Mmmm wet lube. :)
Pretty sure caffeine enables opiates, which is why they put it in T3's and Percocets, etc. And yep, you're right McFly. Tramadol binds with the littlest receptor, which is why it's EGGGZACTLY like sucking titties through a wool sweater. Mmmm titties. :)

My little old gran and her gang of likeminded little old babas were some kind of livid back in the seventies when the RCMP rolled into town and tore out all of their pot and poppy plants, saying that they weren't allowed to grow dangerous drugs, and f they needed medicine they'd have to go and see a doctor like everyone else. So instead of her opium tea and pot cookies, the doctor lined her up with a lifetime supply of percocets. NICE.

Fucking EDS is brutal, but she never NEEDED the opium tea. Percocet was another story altogether. Once you've taken those pharmaceuticals for a while, you're damned if you don't. At least they let her take those nasty pills for the rest of her life without calling her a drug seeker and hooking her up with the worst opiate of them all: methadone. They call it maintenance therapy, but it's really prison inside your own body, because if you stop suddenly you can die.

The war on drugs is absolute bullshit. Gimme the Wednesday weed any day, or an opium tea, but don't tell me what I can and can't put in this mutarded body, and don't tell me that the government knows best, either. If you take three T3's every three hours instead of two every four you can actually die of liver failure, but it has nothing to do with the codiene. Tylenol is deadly. And if alcohol had to pass testing today the safe limit would be less than one drink per year...

Everybody is going on and on about the fentanyl crisis, but it's smoke and mirrors. Go to a doctor in pain and they'll give you drugs. We're supposed to have universal health care here in The Donald's toupe, but the only thing that's covered is surgery, followed by prescriptions. Forget the medicine that actually heals. Most doctors haven't even heard of prolotherapy, and Dr Brown wanted to offer T cell and stem cell prolo years ago, but no way will the government let him. Sure you can get anything you want if you're wealthy enough. Hell, you can even go and live on Mars if you want, but if you're just an average person trying to get by, you're screwed. Want pysio? Fuck off. Chiro? Nope. Acupuncture? Dreamer. Massage? Go find a whore. Therapy for sexual assault at the hands of some narcissistic prick? BAaaahahahahahaha. It's your fault anyway, stupid girl. What were you doing in that changing room with your pants down?

The opiate crisis is all over the news but nobody mentions that most people die shortly after trying to come clean. So your poor ostracised friend or relative has finally given up the drug and you breathe a big sigh of relief and stop worrying when in fact that's exactly when they're most vulnerable, because it doesn't take long to lose your tolerance. And since our medical system fails miserably at actually healing the pain at the root of every single fucking addiction, your loved one is likely to relapse and THAT's when they die. Fentanyl crisis my ass. We have a health care crisis in spades, and a world ruled by corporate interests over the greater good.

Thank goodness we still have bicycles. And yoga. They're literally my lifeline. Oh, and sex. that's the best pain relief of em all.

bad boy of the north said...

Like that,anon@1202a

bad boy of the north said...

Babble.... good morning sermon.

Nodu said...

Taken from babble on, " Percocet was another story altogether. Once you've taken those pharmaceuticals for a while, you're damned if you don't."

For me, you have won the internet this month; thank you for sharing-

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You've won the Internet and a free trip to...Disney World!

Anonymous said...

Leave Sagan alone, clearly the airlines lost his luggage and he had to scramble for an outfit from the nearest thrift store. At least he didn't wear a dress with a tree in the crotchal area.

Pugsleymike said...

Clearly its time for a BELT drive 1x9 as your legs are too much a match for an archaic chain of metal links. (although finding a belt drive cassette may be too manly to comprehend...)

Ian Symonds said...

I read that as "that would explain my poor shitting performance"

Mr. Doom said...

1x11 slx shifty thing, 11-46 pie plates, crutch derailleur, chain & egg ring are $250....no more front bits to dick around with, priceless.

Mr. Doom said...

1x11 slx shifty thing, 11-46 pie plates, crutch derailleur, chain & egg ring are $250....no more front bits to dick around with, priceless.

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