On a long enough time line the survival rate for anyone drops to zero. Pedal powering long distances is basically an opportunity for everything that can go wrong to go wrong. The best defenses against these situation are proper equipment and good luck.
Sun is Shining. Weather is sweet. California Soul. Laura is a distinguished member of the Buffalo diaspora now living in Ocean Beach. So in the spirit of Rick James, I shipped my bike to her place a little over a week ago. We catch up a bit, then I go into retrieval mode…. A beloved but a bit beaten up boxed up bike. (Say THAT seven times fast.) I wanna hug it. I’m a bit jetlagged, so I lob my airline-checked box next to it. In what is clearly an objective act of animus, the tape pops loose and that box — containing only clothes, sleeping bag and tools — spills out sideways. Fuck that box. Geometry and geography now occupying my brain space, I brush it off and try to focus on the fairly complex remote reassembling task before me. O. K. One. Two. Open. Remove.
Damon shipped his bike to a nearby shop – he heads out to Coronado Island in similar retrieval mode. Laura goes back inside as she’s mid-working-from-home shift. Candy pulls out a copy of Jennifer Government and digs in. I mention that Julia Roberts was cast to play the lead role nearly 20 years ago. Secretly, I hope Candy reads it and figures out a way to make a film Clooney and Soderbergh couldn’t. I realize that she’s a Nurse Practitioner and that maybe I expect too much – so instead I settle into ensuring I attach the reverse threaded-pedal correctly.
A times B times C equals X.
A. Fully reassembled, it’s clear my front brake’s rotor has been bent in transit. Damn UPS, this is definitely not what I mean when I say “good enough for Union work.” I disable the break a bit for now, knowing I’ll have to deal with that shit later. Time travel to later, when San Diego Bike Shop bends it back for me. Then time travel to even later, when Moments Bikes sells me a new rotor. Whew.
B. Damon’s report first back comes in as “less than ideal”. His front rack is toast. He pops for a new rack from Holland Bikes. Whew.
C. Nevertheless. However. Although. Damon’s front derailleur is fucking toast as well. Too much toast. It’s a Sachs Huret 4989, and the vintage nature means that hipsters love it, but also that the available replacement derailleur only gets him first and second gears. No third gear on the chainring for him. Fast forward to us at San Diego Bike Shop, Damon getting a bad ass motorcycle-style kickstand, but no luck on getting back a third gear. Fast forward again to us at Moments Bikes, Damon having two guys at that shop figure a shortcut fix for him. Whew.
X. Fast forward again and again and again to a few miles up, Damon and I riding WEST from the Airbnb to the official route start point on the Pacific. We’re gonna ride the first 7-10 miles of it and then head back to our place near Balboa Park, then start our long haul due EAST in the morning. Damon shifts and the replacement derailleur rotates around the seat tube a good 30-45° into near suicide. Fuck. I’m not at all derailleur-inclined, but I reposition it the best I can, tighten it down. Now he’s got no first or third gear – though we are mobile, heading back eastbound after bidding adieu to the Pacific. Imagine the sun setting and fast forward just one last time: after returning to already closed Moments Bikes, Damon rolls back up to the Airbnb. He digs into learning about derailleur adjustments on YouTube. Little mileage, but heavy issues. We survived the storm as best would could. Day one is done, Jimmy Castor. Tomorrow we hit the mountains and climb to 4000 feet, one way or another.