Ad Infinitum [From BA 43-200]
…The rim’s incompatibility with my red bike frame had something to do with the quick-release mechanism. With a little extra force and pressure, though, I managed to cram that rim onto my bike, blissfully unaware of the all-too-obvious fact that something wasn’t right with the whole situation.
I rode around the block for a quick test run. As I was rounding the corner, I noticed that the wheel wasn’t rotating correctly either—it was getting stuck somewhere along the way. Also, the chain had an annoying habit of wanting to jump from sprocket to sprocket, but I set it up as a singlespeed with no derailleur, so the fact that it was somehow trying to change gears totally bewildered me.
At this point, I was ready to strap some explosives to the thing and chuck it down a ravine. The resulting explosion would have been breathtaking, I’m sure. Instead, I set to work on finding a rim, one that wouldn’t destroy every tube that it came in contact with. I searched with meticulous abandon, but in the end, found no correct matches hiding in the crevices of my garage.
Instead, I decided to give my first rim another chance, the one that had a penchant for popping tubes. I took a closer look and discovered what might have been the problem. The rubber rim guard had been shifting around in there so that the tube itself was, at one point or another, scraping against the sharp inside ends of the spokes.
With duct tape in hand, then, and the rim guard sitting in its proper place, I securely fastened that mangy devil in there so it wouldn’t be able to move again. Then, I installed the new tube, inflated it, and put the rim back on my bike.
I took it out for another test run and, except for the fact that one of the crank arms was starting to fall off, everything seemed to go smoothly. I made it home okay, tightened the loose crank arm, tightened the seat, and took it out for another ride.
Maybe I was getting somewhere.
For over a month, that red marvel gave me no trouble whatsoever, and I kept it in excellent shape. But one day, unexpectedly, the front right brake started to come loose and fall off of the handlebar...
Illustration by Adam Douglas Thompson