If It’s Sunday, You Can Find Me At The Bike Shop


The good news is I got in a 28 mile ride today.  The bad news is I planned to do 50.  I suffered a broken spoke in Brentsville.  This is the third major mechanical failure in the extraordinarily small town of Brentsville.  Everything on my bike breaks in Brentsville.  The Brentsville Courthouse is rumored to be haunted.  I’ve checked it out but never saw any ghosts.  Perhaps I missed one and he really, really, doesn’t like bicycles.

The bike was rideable, the major hassle being that the rear tire would rub against my break pads once each revolution.  That DEFINITELY has a drag effect on the bike!  The last 11 miles were therefore extra special for me as I fumed on my way home.

I brought the bike into the shop and spoke to the owner who now recognizes me on sight.  He said he has sold about 50 Crosstrails and mine is the only one with spoke problems.  We then had a lengthy discussion about how and where I ride the bike.  I assured him I was not deliberately putting it into pot holes or riding off cliffs.  He said there is no reason why it shouldn’t be able to handle a rider of my weight on the terrain I was describing.  His only thought is that perhaps I am sitting when I hit the larger bumps when I should be standing.  Standing on the pedals moves the weight off the back wheel and distributes it more evenly across the bike. 

I told the owner that I thought his service was great, but I didn’t want to continue to need his service every weekend.  He agreed that was a worthy goal.  He’ll be calling Specialized tomorrow to see if they’ll approve swapping out the entire rear wheel.  Their answer will have a significant impact on where I take my future business.

The best part of my ride came when I was almost home, despite the broken spoke and the curtailed route.  I was waiting at a red light when an old man rolled down the window of his car and said, “You are a rare thing:  a cyclist who doesn’t run red lights.”  Glad to be setting a small positive example for the greater cycling world, I smiled and said, “I only get one life.  I’d hate to cut it short by being an idiot.”  The driver smiled and said, “You got that right!” Then the light turned green and we were both on our way.


11 thoughts on “If It’s Sunday, You Can Find Me At The Bike Shop

    • I am pleased I have reached the point where 2 hours in the saddle is a disappointment. However, my thoughts are increasingly turning to a new bicycle (sorry, not a kayak) in 2011.

  1. That’s the pits! You’re not the first person to have spoke/wheel issues with Specialized. One of the guys in our club has had several replaced. I like your maps. Does it print based on what you rode, or do you have to program it in?

    • It’s the Garmin Edge 500 GPS and it automatically records your ride data then displays the ride information once you download it to their website. If you want to see all of the data it records, click on the map in this blog post and it will take you to the Garmin Connect website for my rides. Unlike my Specialized, it hasn’t let me down yet!

      Your note on Specialized wheel problems is interesting to me. What bikes do riders in your club consider to be the most reliable? I’m not terribly interested in the fastest – just the ones that don’t break.

  2. IDK, but you would get a better/quicker answer on Bikeforums. Betcha you will find out more about potential causes also. I need to cycle through your blog pages, as I was thinking you were on a hybrid, which should have had a great set of durable wheels on it.

    • 32 spoke wheels with excellent reviews. As I mentioned, the store owner says he has sold 50 Crosstrails and mine is the only one that has ever broken a spoke.

      The next bike I get will have 36 and Armadillo tires or something equivalent.

  3. I have Gatorskins. Love em. I run over everything, ride in gravel, grass, and glass. They are outrageously priced and worth every penny. They are also heavy, but it’s like you say, we are in it for fitness;0)

  4. Sorry to hear about another broken spoke, that really takes the fun out of it. Again, take my advise with a grain or two of salt.

    The shop owner talking about how you go over bumps is just being idiotic. There is something wrong with that wheel, probably the tension is way off. He should have already retensioned your entire wheel. Which is a bit longer of a procedure then sticking a spoke in and truing it.

    Most people who buy crosstails have probably ridden then about 1/10th of what you have. Thats why they are so bombproof. You need a better bike.

    36 spoke wheels are great if you weigh 300 pounds or do loading touring. That being said the 4 extra spokes do very little to harm performance and make a stronger wheel, you don’t need them but they don’t hurt.

    • Keep the advice coming. I’m getting lots of good feedback and I’m soaking it all in. I’ve posted the same question on Bikeforums.com (thanks, Spokie!) and have heard from two Specialized owners – one a Crosstrail – with similar rear wheel problems. The Crosstrail owner’s bike shop rebuilt his wheel with a 36-spoke (double butted) wheel and the problem went away. Based on the defensive attitude of my shop owner, I doubt that will be offered to me. No worries. The bike is under warrantee until next April and you can be durn sure I will be wearing them out until then. After that, I believe I will be looking for Bike #2.

  5. Sorry to hear about the continuing bike issues. Suddenly, my poor Trek 7100 isn’t looking so bad. Just kidding. Anyway, I don’t put in anywhere close to your mileage, so no comparison.

    Good to hear that you too believe in the stopping at red lights mantra. Another good (though much looked-down upon) habit we share 🙂

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