Wednesday, February 2

ABC Quick Check is More Than Just the Bike

You KNOW It's a Bad Sign When YESTERDAY's Bike Track is Still Prominent
I've written here many times about my misadventures with "ABC QUICK CHECK." In truth, those problems really validate WHY one ought to be checking stuff and, more often than not, the misadventure consists of finding something before getting 20 miles from home. In my own riding, I include an element usually omitted from lectures on the subject - a little check ride. Before getting on the bike, all systems are checked, as in the video at the bottom of this post. The extra little check ride, before pushing the bike, adds a validation of the basic check by spending just the start of a ride in validating that everything really IS OK. I like redundancy when I can get it and the check ride confirms the results of the basic ABC. Usually.
The Local Road Surface This Morning. It May Not be Deep, But it IS Really Slick - Literally

I LOVE This Headlight, But it Didn't Save me from a Slick Patch

Safety-Oriented Cyclist Concludes that When a Fall Breaks Parts and Knocks the Chain Off the Chainring,
it Might Be Difficult to Operate Predictably
This morning, it illustrated that the check ride is about more than just the bike. As you know, from my post yesterday on "Second Pass of the Luftwaffe," things are a little slippery around North Texas at the moment. Looking outside, it was apparent that the check ride might be more a test of the road than the bike. For the first time in recent memory, my "A" portion of the "ABC" consisted of letting some air out of the tires to improve traction. To make a short story even shorter, while initally things looked pretty sweet - even to the point that brakes actually slowed things down (something you can't actually check in icy conditions without at least a token check ride and which did NOT happen yesterday), even the mighty P7 light was unable to save me from a fall that busted the plastic cable lock holder (not really a major loss) and caused my chain to jump off the chainwheel. I'm really glad I was riding with my feet OUT of the toe clips. I elected to walk home, as the prospect of touching the freezing chain with bare fingers was less than appealing, as was the prospect of rerailing the chain directly with a gloved hand. It's an advantage of an "around the block" check ride - one need not deal with on-road failures. The light enabled me to find the various bits in the dark, but prudence suggested another Land Rover commute was in order. Still, that check ride opened up the flight envelope a little. Dan G, the LCI demoing the ABC below is fond of noting that we "drive" our bikes. Well, today, I rode it to see if it WAS drivable. That check convinced me that I lacked confidence to operate the bike predictably, traffic or no.

As in flight test, cycling envelope expansion is sometimes a slow and very incremental process if one values safety. The end objective is the same in either case, to become better. Doncha just LOVE this weather? [insert quote from Gordon Cooper in "The Right Stuff" here, but this blog doesn't use that language]

Pilot of Northrop F-5E Tiger II Expands the Envelope Incrementally - from Wikipedia


Chandra said...

I carry some disposable gloves in my took kit, just to keep my hands clean, if I have to work on my chain on my rides. I didn't ride today. May be tomorrow!

Peace :)

Steve A said...

I've thought about the disposable glove technique, but I have not figured out how to keep my tube and tools inside the gloves. Besides, clean fingers were the least of my concerns in the 11F predawn temperature.

Interesting contrast in styles. Chandra carries disposable gloves and Steve carries disposable booties. Both for perfectly legit reasons.

Rat Trap Press said...

I'm glad you weren't injured.

I don't have any desire to ride in these conditions. I'll give it a couple of days and hope the roads dry out.

Steve A said...

RTP. What will you do if a new ice age suddenly hits us and it is like this in August? You never know. I'd have the Trinity River trails all to myself.

I think your wish will be granted this weekend and I look forward to reading about your further explorations.

In the meantime, morning bike forays make sure that I'm well dressed if I drive to work. At work, I'm the only one walking in from the icy parking lot wearing a bike helmet which, though it may sound odd, is a good idea on days such as this. Actually, it's a better idea than wearing a helmet on a bike on a day with dried out roads since an icy parking lot represents a definite and immediate fall risk.

cycler said...

If a new ice age hits, those with studded tires will rule!
We got a quarter of an inch of ice on top of the snow banks, and the temp dropped into the teens, so its gonna be gruesome tomorrow. Another day on the train for me!

Glad you weren't hurt- better safe than sorry.

RANTWICK said...

Do you all hear cycler? I shall rule! Maybe not though, because as much as I know I should do quick checks, I never do. Can you be disabled (or crash) due to mechanical failures and still rule?

Anonymous said...

Yep, it was Jeep day again here. The good news is that I was able to get out of 4WD for a few miles, but that is on the major thoroughfares I drive on. My bike route doesn't look like it has much hope of clearing for a while.

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