When Things Break

Above The South Fork of The American River

Above The South Fork of The American River

Lately it has been the time of things breaking. My Garmin 305 Forerunner GPS watch stopped accepting battery charges so I either need to send it in for a repair ($79) or purchase a new one. I had a small crash on my bike and broke the shifting cable. Our microwave won’t even warm a cup of water. And our Linksys router called it quits. What’s great is when the product is still covered under the warranty. But too often it seems like products fail right after the warranty has expired. My argument is I’ve paid for it once and I’m not done using it. Why do I need to pay again? I had just read an article in Wired magazine how companies do a lot of market research on their products so that their warranty covers the expected life of the product. Could it be?

I’ve had too many close calls on the bicycle and am coming to realize how dangerous a training ride can be. The other day, and this happens much too often, a car pulls ahead of me and then makes a right turn directly in front of me. I slammed on my brakes, locked both wheels, and barely missed slamming into the back of the car. I was furious. I turned around and shouted at the driver to stop. The car pulled into a parking stall and a lady pops out and heads into the store, completely unaware. I’m still yelling, “Hey, didn’t you see me! You just about killed me!” And she says, “Oh, didn’t YOU see MY blinker?” What? “You can’t just turn your blinker on and turn in front of someone!” Now I’m yelling even louder. “Don’t yell at me”, she says. “I’m having a bad day. I don’t feel well. I’m sure you make mistakes.” I’m trying to understand her point. As long as she turns her blinker on she can do whatever she wants. Plus she’s not feeling well so she has a license to make driving mistakes. I point at her car and say, “Your 4,000 pound car against my 20 pound bike is a deadly mistake.” Another lady is walking by and says, “He’s right. You just about hit him.” I’m too angry to continue the debate and get back on the bike and continue on my ride. A couple miles down the road I realize that I should have kindly reminded her that she should have slowed down and waited for the bicycle to pass. That would have been the right way for me to handle it. But I didn’t handle it the right way. All I did was show her how much of a jerk cyclists are. We think we own the road! Not really, we just want to safely share the road.

Yesterday, went up to Tahoe in the afternoon and put in a 50 mile ride over to King’s Beach, up to Tahoe City and back to Truckee. And today, Sunday, not much of a long ride up to Georgetown and over to Placerville and Folsom. I like this ride and it takes me over both the North and South Forks of the American River. But had a terrible time with my cabling and spent about 45 minutes on the side of the road tinkering with the bike. Finally figured it out but not until my hands were covered in chain grease.

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