Balancing Self Sufficiency with Smarts

My quest to save a few bucks is going to end up costing me double. About a week ago, I decided it was time for a new chain on the CAAD9. “How hard can it be? I’ve changed chains before, back in the BMX/Freestyle days of my youth. I got this.” That’s what I thought.

Turns out, chain technology has advanced a bit. That and the fact that I was dealing with a chain that needed to be sized and routed through derailleurs, and then gear indexing tweeked. Yeah, it was more than I thought.

My first attempt left me with a chain about 5 links too long. I cut it down and put it on the bike again. In my haste, I didn’t find the master link, but broke the chain on a random link. Putting it back together was tricky but I got it together.

The next challenge was tuning my derailleurs. It turns out that this is relatively easy once you know how. Park Tool has a great tutorial on their site. I followed it and was happily shifting up and down the rear cassette with no issues.

Time for a ride.

I left the house yesterday around 10 AM and happily tweeted, “Stolen Moments Ride” to the twitterverse. I opted to change things up and put some of the local hills (more like speed bumps to the rest of the world) into my ride. I was cranking pretty good at a 15.6 mph pace and tackling the hills with some effort. Not sagging, but not sprinting up them.

After the last little rise, I headed down a Jennings road, a nice stretch where you can really get moving. I was cranking up and was spinning at about 22 mph when it happened. Suddenly there was no resistance on the pedals. My new chain had snapped. I spent 20 minutes on the side of the road trying to repair it.

After getting it fixed, I was covered in grease and started gingerly peddling toward home. This ride was cut short.

I felt like a moron. Here’s the worst part, I don’t have to pay for labor at my local bike shop where I bought the bike, so I didn’t save any cash anyway.

I guess it’s good to be self-sufficient, but it’s also good to know your limits and let the pros do the job when it makes sense.

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