Finally found a bicycle shop in Carbondale, Illinois. My front derailleur had been giving me fits the past two states as the chain refused to respond and jump in the big ring up front.
Dave McDonald owns Phoenix Cycles. “I haven’t seen one of these in years,” he said about my Centurion. “I think it’s one of the first bikes I sold when I bought the shop in the 1980s.” Dave reviewed the situation and made a head-shaking diagnosis. “You know, I can put some lube in here and tighten your cable a bit… but there’s a lot going on here and once I change one thing that’ll open up a whole new series of issues,” he said.
As we studied our weary situation another employee came through the door. “A Centurion RS; man it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of those,” he said.
Alex had short cropped hair and was dressed in a bike tech apron. He had a thin face and when he smiled his eye-teeth reminded me of Robert Pattison in Twilight.
The men looked at each other, their heads shaking.
Dave pointed out the U-brackets in back which held my bike rack to the frame. He also brought out his chain-o-meter. “You see here how we have some play in the chain – you’ve really stretched this and if you look here by the ring you can see light as I rotate the pedal.” During an even slower rotation Dave indicated how the chain links did not even sit between the teeth in the sprocket. “It’s just riding on top; you see that?,” he asked.
I nodded, like it was normal. “When I get into the big gears it sounds like the rhythm of a train.”
Dave let out a lot of big sighs. “You sure do get your monies worth out of your gear,” he said. My dad would be proud.
While Dave wrenched I told him about my father and his baby-seat bike. How he put four child seats on an old Schwinn. One in front of the handlebars, another wedged behind and then two more seats perched on the fender in back.
“Nope, only ponytails for protection.” My dad would take me and my sisters out for rides when we were growing up. Later, when my brothers entered the picture, my dad spliced together three tandems. We had seen a show about the Wallendas and another on Evel Knievel and got all inspired.
The triple bike never worked too well, but we tried and that’s where I give my dad the credit for getting me into biking.
It’s all the adventure you care to have; just get on and ride.
Comments: Good Morning Judy, Just wanted to let you know we really enjoyed chatting with you last Saturday at Mary Lou’s. Got on your web page and saw where you did take 51 north. Hope all worked out for you. We enjoyed reading your blog. Judy & Bernie RV’ers