I bought Morgan’s road bike from her last year and set out to
enjoy all the great road riding Anchorage has to offer survive. One of the classic rides here in South Anchorage is out the Old Seward Highway behind Potter (braving the enormous and myriad cracks in the old, deteriorating road), up the Potter Hill Climb, and back. If you’re masochistic you’ll add the Rabbit Creek hill climb in there too. It can be a pretty nice ride if you watch out for the bad road surface; there’s not that much traffic and the scenery is nice.
On my new-to-me bike I wasn’t enjoying it, though. I wasn’t enjoying road biking much in general. I realized that knee strain was a part of every ride, which was a new development. I blamed it on the “compact double” gearing of my bike, having had a triple for so long before that. I set about to turn my bike into a triple.
Turns out this was a bigger endeavor than I thought. I needed about $600 in new parts plus labor. Well, that sucked.
No one I talked to was supportive of my inquiries. I shouldn’t want a triple, they said, just get stronger, they said. Well, in karate class my sensei told me I had one of the strongest front kicks of any of his students, and I can squat 225 for reps when I’m training. I don’t think strength is really the issue here, boys. Yes, it was all boys who told me that I shouldn’t want a triple.
I thought I’d just sell it and buy a new one. Turns out it’s hard to find a triple in the used market.
I thought I’d buy a new one. Turns out I can’t be compelled to pay even low-end prices for road bikes. $1000 buys you something generally considered crappy? Ergh.
I got a response from a local woman who was amused by it and dropped me a note in solidarity. She did not have a triple for me though. One other local girl offered a trade, but we had trouble connecting to see if we liked each other’s bikes.
So I waited it out. I picked up a part here, and a part there. It took about a year. Finally I had everything assembled but the one measly front deraileur. Up til then I’d only spent about $200 for all the parts I needed. The weather’s good and I wanted to ride, so I caved and parted with $50 for a new front deraileur.
“Didn’t I already convert this one last year?” wondered my trusty
sidekick bike mechanic Robin.
“No,” I reminded him. “I just complained about it last year.”
And now I have my triple. I went out and rode Rabbit Creek the other day and hey! Road biking is fun again. How about that.
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