Once again, recent events have provided ample evidence indicating that I am an idiot. I have conducted an investigation into my oddly-positioned handlebars and have come to the conclusion that a simple inspection would have solved the problem.
I mentioned after my inaugural ride on the Madone that my brake hoods felt like they were too far forward. Gerry pointed out that the picture I posted indicated the brake hoods were in the proper position. Brian concurred. I looked at the picture and it certainly seemed to be true, so I left my handlebars alone.
So alone, in fact, that I didn’t event bother to check whether or not it was properly secured by the clamp whose job it is to hold the handlebar in place. I then took the Madone on a 60+ mile Vasaloppet jaunt, all the while frustrated at the location of the brake hoods. I then wrote a ride review and expressed my frustration, but never – not once – did I actually inspect the handlebars closely.
So imagine my embarrassment when I began to adjust the handlebars Tuesday night and discovered two of the four screws were almost completely out of their socket and a third screw was of questionable tightness. The entire handlebar was held in place by only one screw which (as is now plainly evident) was not up to the task. Consequently, the bars rotated forward with my weight when I began riding the bike (which was after I took the picture). This rotation occurred VERY slowly so as to be imperceptible. The only evidence was an odd creaking sound, which I had attributed to some small issue in my brake hood. The sound was actually coming from the clamp each time the bar moved a millimeter or less.
The Vasaloppet pics properly show the rotation that so frustrated me and to which all of you looked upon in horror. It was a short matter to turn the bars to the proper angle and tighten the screws down.
Insert noob cyclist joke here…
On Thursday, I brought the Madone into work so I could take advantage of a 70-degree day. I hopped on the W&OD Trail for a 17 mile spin and to see if the bars would stay in place. Of course, they did.
The Washington and Old Dominion Trail was in its usual form, which is to say it was sprinkled with walkers, joggers, and cyclists making their way over many intersections with rush hour traffic. I rode 8.5 miles out to Dulles and returned. There were seven road crossings each way, although the ride was less interrupted as I ventured further westward, away from the congested areas of Reston and Herndon.
I was happy to get a ride in while it was still daylight, but once the clocks move forward next week I won’t be doing this routine very often; it’s too big a hassle to load my bike and ride clothes onto my truck, secure my bike upon arrival at work, then drive 35 miles home in a sweaty state. Besides, the roads are better in Prince William County. Take that, uppity Fairfax and Loudon County people!
P.S. All pictures for this ride were taken with the iPhone camera – a first.