Cardinal sin

In cycling, there are many things you can do wrong, but there’s one thing that stands out as a cardinal sin.

You should never work on your bike the night before a big ride.

There’s too much that can go wrong. Without adequate testing, you could find yourself out in the middle of who-knows-where with a breakdown.

On the eve of the Highlander, I’ve committed the cardinal sin.

Last weekend before my last hill training ride in preparation for the event, I went over Jeeves with a fine-toothed comb, when I swapped its drivetrain from our everyday 53/39 standard crankset with a 12-23 cassette, to my Highlander-only 50/34 compact crankset and 12-27 cassette.

Then I went on the training ride, and we got in a commute during the week this week. Everything was hunky-dory.

Then Mom Nature threw us a curve. The forecast for Naples, NY tomorrow is upper 60s, overcast, gusty winds from the south, and a 40% chance of thunderstorms at 7am, increasing during the day.

Tomorrow's Weather Channel forecast for Naples, NY

Weather Underground’s forecast is even more pessimistic.

Tomorrow's Weather Underground forecast for Naples, NY

I ran the options through my head. I could put on the Crud Roadracer fenders instead of my quick-release Bontrager Satellite rear fender. Jeeves already wears Kool-Stop salmon brake pads for the wet, but I’d need more batteries for lights, and it would be nice to be able to carry a change of clothes, and a second spare tube.

I slept on it. During my nap I dreamed of waterproofing bike bags and equipment. And I reached a decision. When I awoke, I took Mr. Portland down off its hook.

Rather than mess around with adding stuff to Jeeves, Mr. Portland already has full fenders (with a mudflap in the front). Its triple will help over the hills—even with the Portland’s greater weight it shouldn’t be a problem after swapping its 12-23 cassette for its 12-27. The way its disc brakes work in the wet is the entire reason I bought the darned thing in the first place. And the dynamo hub keeps the lights running for as long as the bike is in motion.

But, I’ve been deferring some maintenance. Its chain was borderline. I’d been planning to replace the front brake pads before winter, but an all-day rainy ride in the hills made me want new ones right away. So dodged 5 o’clock traffic and walked across the street and got some new brake pads. Chains I had in stock.

Mr. Portland now has new front brake pads, and the brake caliper was re-aligned. The master link on the new chain gave me a bit of a problem at first, but it came around in the end. The 12-27 cassette is installed, and I adjusted the rear shifting.

I removed its seat bag and put on the Tailraider trunk bag. I stocked it with two spare tubes, and some dry clothes. My DiNotte 300R taillight is seatpost-mounted, and the Tailrider blocks it, so I dug out my old DiNotte 140R and mounted that to the rack to supplement the B&M dynamo taillight. I added a DiNotte 200L blinkie on the the front, to supplement the Schmidt Edelux headlight.

On the test ride, I just did the parking lots next door and around back. The rear shifting needed some more fine-tuning, and I got enough stops in that the rotor started to ping, (it’s a little out-of-true). But the pads are seated. They stopped chuddering, and with each stop after that, they bite a little better, and modulate a little more smoothly.

We got back inside just moments before the first crack of thunder.

We’ll see you at the start, at 7am. Rule #9 will be in effect: “If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.”

One Response to “Cardinal sin”

  1. bikerjohn Says:

    Bruce, I stopped counting Cardinal Sins a long time ago, but perhaps I’m wreaking the consequences…
    Breaking that Cardinal sin of bike work the night before the ride will require penance on my part next time I go to Confession. Maybe I already have paid a penance for that sin on the Highlander ride today…
    Last night after changing out the front tire of the Bianchi with a different sized tire, I never gave a thought to recalibrating the cyclometer…