Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Complications

I decided, now that I have my lovely new crate, that it was high time I bothered raising the handlebars on my bicycle. See, on a cruiser sort of bike, your handlebars should actually be higher than your seat. You should be able to sit on your bike and hold the handlebars with your elbows slightly bent. This is how cruisers work. But I am lazy, so when I got my bike last year, I raised the seat to the proper height and left the handlebars because I couldn't find the special sort of tool I needed to undo the bolt (a wrench).

This was not really a problem, until this summer, because in last fall I was brutally destroyed in that car accident that gave me whiplash. In addition to the whiplash, I jarred my right hand. Righty, I call it. Righty had "soft tissue damage" which is medical-speak for, "hurt but there's nothing we can do about it, so suck it up."

Having low handlebars and a high seat makes you tilt your body forward, making you lock your arms and put weight on your arms. Also you absorb shock with your arms. And that hurts wrists with "soft tissue damage."

So I broke down and raised the handlebars. It's pretty easy. But do you know what's not easy? Tightening bolts.

I went for a ride with Mum because that's what we do. And we went along a very bumpy gravel road, bouncing up and down hills. After about a mile, we stopped at a derelict country bridge, and I parked my bike. And then the front wheel went left while the handlebars turned right. That is not supposed to happen. They are supposed to turn together.

"You can't ride home like that!" Mum said.

I wiggled the handlebar assembly, which was very loose for something that had been very tight mere minutes before.

"It's going to just fall off!"

"No, it won't," I told Mum confidently. And to prove my point, I jerked the handlebars up. And they came right off.

You cannot ride a contraption with two wheels and no handlebars. One wheel and a seat, sure. Some people can do that. But two wheels and no handlebars? No. Not possible.

So Mum set off home for tools while I walked (with Darcy) back toward home. When Mum came back with the tools (in her car so she'd be speedy), I tightened everything. It still was not enough, because I tightened both things way more when I got home. And Dad got home and tightened them even more.

Here's hoping I don't lose my handlebars and die on my next ride.

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