No Loitering

Cycling Stories November 19, 2019


No Loitering

You knew your goddamn seat post collar was broken.

The final miles of your last ride, you hobbled home, ass slammed, legs like misaligned pistons.

You had plenty of warning over the past few months. How often did you adjust your seat? Each time, the screw head stripping more, accommodating less pressure from your multi-tool?

“I got it to work this time,” you’d congratulate yourself. “I’ll finalize repairs after this ride. After all, it’s just a hex screw.”

You’re inevitably hungry when you return, then tired once your belly’s filled. “I’ll stop by the bike shop tomorrow after work,” you’d say. “Or, perhaps the day after. It is the middle of the week.”

Inevitably, this week flows into next. Before you know it, months have passed.

Now, standing here, geared up and fully stoked to ride, you can’t tighten the collar enough to keep your seat up. You tried pillaging your other bikes’ collars, but nothing matched.

In desperation, you forced a scavenged screw into the collar—the same diameter, mind you, but with a drastically different thread pattern.

It almost worked. Once the screw reached the other side, though, it promptly froze like Siberia in winter.

Next? Using hand tools, you couldn’t put additional pressure on the new screw, so you had the bright idea of busting out the hammer drill.

Bad energy rising, you called it quits before the cops got involved, or someone went to the hospital. Or both.

That, my dear friend, is precisely where forcing situations get you.

Oh yeah, and a healthy heap of procrastination, too.

“What the fuck? Is this ride really shot? Damnit! The weather’s going to suck the next few days.”

If only I had listened to all those internal reminders. Now, the wife and kids are already on their way to the coast. Quickly driving somewhere isn’t an option.

Deep breath. Center.

I glance at my phone. Luckily, a bike shop is near enough that I can ride/walk. (House of Tandems—one of just a few tandem-only bike shops in the country, BTW!).

I just have to keep my seat post slammed for a couple of miles, and then ride on the shoulder of a heavily congested, forever-under-construction road. The recent rains will probably make things nice and muddy, too.

I’m not disappointed.

Arriving at their doorstep, already a bit worn out from my newly started ride, they happily help me replace my seat collar. We talk shop for a bit. I thank them for helping save the day and set off to finish what I started.

Silver lining? Without my reluctance, I wouldn’t have met the great guys at House of Tandems.

I also wouldn’t have had the opportunity to catch my emotions, re-center, regroup, and view the problem from a refreshed perspective. And without mindfulness tools, my ego could have allowed the situation to spiral and ruin the remainder of my day.

Still, all of this could have been avoided on a non-ride day by taking a few extra minutes, stopping by the hardware store, and picking up a new screw—and perhaps an extra for good measure.

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” ― Mark Twain

Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist, and is the founder of TreadBikely. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout
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