Two-wheeled troubles

It’s been a rough couple of months, bicycle fleet-wise.  Our stable, which has held as many as five bikes, has seemed bare with just two or three bikes at any given time, between planned maintenance and unexpected events.  As of this week, we are down to ONE really, truly functional bike between the two of us!

Matthew’s Giant hybrid
As part of the conversion to a kid-hauling bike, and due to general age of the previous wheels, Matthew invested in some new, heavier-duty wheels for his back-up bike.  No sooner did he get the new wheels (and install a front rack, to address weight balance issues with G on board) than he noticed some handling issues (well, he’d noticed them before, to some extent, but dismissed them).

Another visit to the bike shop revealed a bent fork (probably due to a crash, and has been bent for some time now).  There’s been some delay in getting the correct replacement part, so this bike has been at the shop for a couple of weeks now.

Matthew’s Salsa road bike
In mid-September, Matthew took this [barely year-old] bike in for a regular tune-up, not expecting any issues.  He was rather surprised when a guy at the bike shop called and told him the rim of his rear wheel was cracked.  Despite the fact that the bike was just barely out of the warranty period, and that this rim seems to have some track record of trouble, it was very hard getting anyone to take responsibility for it (turns out most bike warranties cover the frame, but often exclude “components”), but in the end, customer assertiveness prevailed.*

Matthew purposely waited until he had the Salsa back to take the Giant in for the fork issue, so he wouldn’t be bike-less.  But of course, after barely two weeks of riding (and after he’d taken the Giant to the shop), the newly replaced rear wheel on his Salsa went out of true.  So, until we deal with that, Matthew’s left using Big Blue for all of his bicycle trips and busing on days that I need Big Blue.

When I replaced BUB’s tires last month, I noticed that he was in major need of a tune-up.  In the end, I got the tune-up, plus a new chain (I think these replaced the original components, so I was due for the new parts).

Turns out, I should have checked the bike over more carefully before taking it home.  My first ride out, I discovered that the front brake was rubbing the rim on one side.  My assumption was that the brakes were not adjusted correctly, but Matthew suspects that I have a wheel out of true.  I’ve still been riding it for short trips, but, if it is a wheel truing issue, it looks like I’m headed to the bike shop yet again.

Of course, I still haven’t replaced Baby Jake, so on the days that Matthew takes Big Blue, my options are pretty limited, bike-wise.  Gabriel and I actually walked to a park (that I would usually choose to bike to) yesterday, which was a nice change of pace.

I guess it’s good that our one functional bike is the one that we can both operate, but I’m ready to have a fully functioning bike fleet again!

*Clarification from Matthew: Most bike warranties cover components, but only the ones that break, not the ones needed to install the replacement part, nor the labor involved.  My rim broke, but since they discontinued that exact rim, I also needed new spokes to fit the new rim, as well.  The spokes, plus the labor of building the wheel, were the lion’s share of the cost here.