Terii’s Cycling Babble

Spring Marches On!
April 2, 2016, 7:03 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Things have been a fiasco.

Did I mention Loke had surgery? I must have. On March 21st, Loke went to our usual vet clinic in the morning. The surgery went fine and the growth on his face was removed. When it stayed small and hidden in the fur of his face, not giving any trouble, I was content to leave it. Once it started growing fast and getting scratched, I was a bit worried. So off it had to go.

Unfortunately, it was right where Loke could lick it. So it’s been a bit of a challenge.

Finally it started healing. Keeping Loke from cramming his face into hedges on walks has been a challenge. The entire neighborhood is practically one big hedge and the furball insists on sticking his face in them to find the perfect spot to ‘leave his calling card’.

Still, we managed. He licked at it a lot, but didn’t seem inclined to scratch. So, he was only wearing the cone at night. After a week, we forgot to put the cone on the furball. Awoke Monday morning to discover he’d pulled the stitches open somehow.

Being the Monday after Easter, the clinic was closed so off I raced to the animal hospital. Naturally, Loke was being cuddly. He wanted to rest his head on my shoulder on the drive. Quite creepy, I might add. Big huge (so it looked) pit of raw meat on his face so close to my ear or cheek. It was a perfect circle about the size of a dime.

The visit to the animal hospital didn’t take too long. The vet decided to leave the wound open. It was infection free and showing all signs of healing well. Restitching it would have meant sedating Loke again and cutting the edges back to fresh skin before sewing it back up. It was still creepy, but it is healing.

Jumping forward to Wednesday, March 30th, I dropped the Sprint off at the awesome cycle shop for the tire change and yet another tweak on the gears. Lotten was already leaping around as the spring rush on cycle shops continue. Silly people waiting until the last moment. If they’re like me and swapping tires once they’re sure the snow is gone, it makes sense. If their bikes have been sitting around in storage over winter, it makes less sense.

Once she had a moment to breathe, she put a lock on my trike and took the tires. The brand new 20″ for the front and the older 26″ for the rear. As we went to do the check in paper work, I said it was probably the last season for the big tire. Lotten took a closer look and nope. Last season was the last.

Though the tread and rubber looked good at a glance, there were all sorts of little cuts right down to the kevlar when the tire was flexed. We were both surprised. She asked how many flats had I gotten, looking amazed when I said none. Clearly the kevlar was doing its job.

Of course, it meant I needed a new tire right away. Wouldn’t you know it? It seems that 26″ wheels are on the way out and tires right along with them. They didn’t have the one I needed, but I offered to look at other cycle shops and bring one. Lotten told me she didn’t think I’d find one, but if I did, awesome!

She was right! I hurried off to the two biggest shops with bikes I could think of. Neither had 26″ tires of any kind. One shop, I even asked and got a baffled look as if I’d asked for one made of pink rubber that leaves the scent of rose petals in the air while rolling.

I called them at the shop and Neil, the owner answered. I told them I hadn’t been able to find one, but instead of putting the old tire on and hoping it would hold out, just to leave the current studded tire on the rear. It was the last season for it any way so it wouldn’t hurt to roll along on it.

Then things got really confusing. Neil thought the ordered tire was coming the next day so maybe I could leave the trike overnight? I agreed.

Just before the shop closed, Bobby called too, but can’t remember exactly what we talked about because Lotten called just a bit later.. or was it the next morning? I also asked Bobby to again to tweak the gears.

Well, the gist was that the tire wasn’t coming for a week or more because it was from the other who supplier who didn’t have a 24 hour shipping policy. So, I just repeated to leave the current 26″ studded on it for now.

The next morning, I got the text to pick it up.

The weather was a bit unstable and I ended up putting off going for a ride.

New tires!

New tires!

I started getting dressed with the sun out. It was about 58 F which I dressed for. No shoe covers, no wool. Just my summer weight top and tights.

Pulled the trike out of the car and assembled it all. I was grinning at the sight of dust on the fresh new tires. The smile didn’t last long.

It was a bad ride almost from the start. Loke was completely crazed, which isn’t a negative. He’d been bouncing insanely while I put the seat on. A hare with a bee up its nose would probably have jumped around less.

This ride just kept getting better...

This ride just kept getting better…

The problem was the gears were being difficult even before we’d gone the first mile and worse than before. To add to the fun, the chain was jerking and yanking around as if it was skipping teeth on the rear cogs. That’s very hard on the knees. The fact that it wasn’t shifting very well didn’t help either. I clicked 5 times and the derailleur didn’t budge. Then it jumped 6 on the next turn.

Loke was too excited for me to turn back so I pushed on, determined to do the best I could. Clouds scudded in at high speed. What had been a mostly clear blue sky became ominous to the north and east. By mile two, the temperature had plummeted from almost 60 F to just above 40 F. Dressed for much warmer temps, I started shivering.

On we went, the trike lurching along when I had to pedal. The moments where it worked, it was great. It practically flew with the new tires and their much lower rolling resistance over the studded. A few times I wondered if it only felt like the gears weren’t changing because it was so much easier rolling. All I had to do was listen to hear that it was off though.

As we came along the river, the sun was completely gone and the wind, bitterly cold I might add, kicked up. Passing the back of the swim hall, spits of rain came down. Then we made the turn onto Gamla Uppsala Road and the cherry on the hellish ride appeared. A mentally ill woman, railing and screaming at the world. She saw us and vented her fury on us, shrieks raising to new heights. As we came close to passing her, she started spitting.

I was already upset, stressed and miserable. If any of that had hit me, I would have completely lost it. I was glad of that wind, cold or not, because it was blowing toward her and away from me as she kept trying to splatter me with saliva.

About 15 yards on, Loke decided he wanted to make a deposit on the path which I had to clean up. Fortunately, the woman stayed where she was rather than running as us while stopped.

Less than 4 miles. Loke was disappointed, but I was just glad to get the hell over. Snuggled up under the electric blanket and went into a deeper, frustrated funk.

Jens was in Denmark for a few days, but saw my posts on FB about the aggravation. He encouraged me to call ICE. I figured he was right, but needed to know exactly what parts I had. So, April 1st (yesterday), I drove to the cycle shop to ask about it.

Bobby was out sick, but Neil and Lotten were there. When I explained what was happening, he asked if I had the trike with me. Backed up as they were, he was still happy to look. Bless him.

He slapped it right up on the stand and I turned pedals while he looked. He couldn’t see a single issue. Everything lined up fine and, predictably, worked flawlessly. Shifted promptly and no jerking chain.

We were both baffled. He poked around at it a bit, trying to find anything wrong, but it stubbornly performed as it should. He recommended I try riding it again and let him know.

We also had a bit of a chat about what to do if the problem insisted on cropping up again. He had a theory that part of the problem might be that the gear shifter and the derailleur don’t have perfect compatibility. It seems that 9 speeds are on the way out. 10 and more speed rear cassettes are now the ‘thing’. Because of that, the selection of the grip shifts available to replace the old were limited and not entirely perfect. It had been something he and Bobby had beat their heads on before finding something they had hoped would work.

Kind of aggravating to have the original grip shift break shortly after I’d replaced the chain and cassette and then find out 9 speeds are being phased into oblivion.

So, I headed home to try the gears again. While doing so, I also looked on ICE’s web site to find the Sprint 26 model now comes with 10 speed, rather than 9, as standard. So, if the problems continue, perhaps biting the bullet and making the upgrade will help. I must admit, I swooned a bit seeing that the 10 speed cassette on the new Sprints was an 11-36. That would give me an even lower granny gear to help with hills!

Paying for new lengths of chain for the swap stings a bit. That’s about 1000 kr or more right there.

A better outing all around!

A better outing all around!

Warily, I plodded out to assemble the trike, which has been in the car since the Saturday where I rode to Funbo Church.

The weather looked more promising at least. It was a tad warmer and the clouds were innocent, harmless puffballs floating in blue skies. Loke was happy to be out again. Not quite as crazed as on March 31st, but still moving like a machine. As for the trike? Flawless. Not the least little hiccup or hitch in the shifting or chain. With the summer tires, we sped along and did one of our best times for the River Loop in a while.

Oh! And not a single soul who screamed and spit at us!

Before heading back home, I swung by the cycle shop to let Neil know it worked fine. He was baffled. I was baffled.

I’m pretty sure I see some upgrades coming in the trike’s future though. I’ve got to keep her rolling. My trikes are my wings, my freedom!

Oh, one more thing! When I was running and errand yesterday through downtown Uppsala, I took a slightly roundabout way home to pass by Vaksala Square not far from the train station. The produce stand is already here! I foresee the start of twice weekly rides to fetch fruit with trike and trailer starting next week!

Pity it’s yet too early for watermelon and cherries. *wistful sigh*

P.S. The test results on the growth from Loke’s face came back benign. Just a little cyst of the sebaceous gland often found on older animals.

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