Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

7/9/2006

Mercury in retrograde…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:37 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was a sightseeing trip to see two castles in the Hollywood Hills.

We started out on Paloma, and we hadn’t gone more than a few blocks when Michael had to stop. His pedal was coming off. I had a look at it, and it appeared that the last mechanic who worked on it had cross-threaded it. The crank threads were stripped out, and it was a total loss. So he pulled out his phone to call home for help, while the rest of us continued on.

The church in Eagle Rock didn’t have a witty sign up today. Just a hand-lettered paper saying that the sign was being rebuilt. Maybe they need to use the Church Sign Generator.

When we started up the little hill on St. George, Matt and Newton blasted by me. I got out of the saddle to chase them and PANG!!! It was a tremendous spoke-breaking noise. But when I looked down, my wheel wasn’t wobbling too badly. So I rode up the hill and we found a shady spot to stop and have a look. I’d broken two spokes, right next to each other. So that explained why the wheel was still mostly straight, but just hopping a little. There really was nothing to do but go on.

We turned off Franklin and headed up the hill. The streets up there are narrow and rough. But they are also very quiet. We rode up Hollyridge to the first castle. On the way up, we passed another house with a castle-like stone wall in front. But it wasn’t the real castle. When we reached the real castle, it was quite obvious.

From there, we rode down into the canyon below the Hollywood sign. Then we rode up the other side, coming out at the top of the ridge by Wolf’s Lair Castle. I took a couple of pictures there before we saw Gene walking up the street, holding his broken chain like a dead snake. We were all astounded by this, since we’d had a very bad run of mechanical problems today. Doug mentioned that someone he knows always says that when Mercury is in retrograde, it’s bad for mechanical things. Not that any of us believes in astrology, but that’s about as good an explanation as any for what happened.

Someone had a chain tool, and Gene had a quick-fix link, so they pieced it back together. While they were doing that, a very attractive young woman on a bike stopped to chat for a few minutes. She said that she lives close by there in the hills. Sadly, that probably means she won’t ever come out to Pasadena to ride with us.

When the chain was fixed, we started out again, heading toward the Hollywood sign. When we got to the junction at Mulholland, we’d lost most of the group. I rode part way back and didn’t find them. So I pulled out my phone and called Newton. He said that Gene’s chain had broken again and that they were still back at Wolf’s Lair. So they ended up having to take several links out of the chain to get it to go back together.

While we were waiting for them, Doug and I rode the short distance up Mulholland to get a close-up view of the Hollywood Sign. Then when we were re-grouped, we headed down the hill to Lake Hollywood. From there, we rode up one more steep hill and then down to Barham for the long downhill into Burbank. When we got there, we stopped at Priscilla’s for snacks.

On the way down the last hill, I had noticed that my handlebar tape was unraveling. I had lost my handlebar plug, so the tape was coming undone and flapping in the wind. Is there no end to the torment? I ended up stuffing it with a paper napkin for the ride home.

After the stop, we headed back home by the most direct route possible. Being on gimpy bikes tends not to encourage taking the Long Way Home. Fortunately, we managed to make it back to Pasadena without further incident.

43 miles, one stripped pedal, two broken spokes, one broken chain, and unraveling handlebar tape.
cycling

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