The picture above reveals why I’m back on the old Trek FX 7.1, the bike I bought about 10 years ago when I decided to get back to riding. It’s been living in semi-retirement, occasionally used (with its saddle as low as possible) by my oldest daughter, who complains every time she rides it about the terrible saddle.
I tried to adjust my gears, is what happened. I’d only recently fucked up my front dérailleur by trying to adjust it. I had to call Velotec, the mobile bike maintenance guy, who put it back the way it was supposed to be and replaced the gear cable I’d ruined.
So when my rear gears started slipping and (the technical term for it is) shonking, I should have just called him again. Instead I looked at a couple of YouTube videos and tried to adjust them myself. Twice. The first time was a complete failure which resulted in my being covered in oil as I put the chain back on at the side of a busy road. So I tried it a second time, spending quite an extended period of time turning the pedals an adjusting the cable tension.
The warning signs were there. The front shifter stopped working while I was adjusting the rear dérailleur (why don’t we just call it a derailer?).
So I took it out for a test ride. Shonk. I just rode down into town to the local bike shop, which was just closing up. But the guy opened the doors and booked it in for next Tuesday. I joked that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get up the hill. It was on the same hill that I’d first noticed the problem. Yeah, back when one gear was a bit slippy. What I like to call the good old days.
I was halfway up the hill, went to change the front gear onto the smaller cog. Shklonk. At first, I thought the chain had come off again. I managed to unclip from the pedals without falling over, but the bike was stationary. Looking down, I saw that the rear derailer had sheared off and had lodged itself in the chain and spokes of the rear wheel.
I carried the bike up the hill, then.
And now I’m back on the old one, saddle raised, my old SPD-SL clipless pedals installed. Back in the uncomfortable shoes. My little Trek roadie is hardly a lightweight (it’s entry-level plus one), but the old FX is heavy in comparison. Fat, comfortable 700c tyres. My 20k loop took fully 5 minutes longer on it than I can do on the road bike.
And the saddle is terrible.