This past weekend I had some serious cycling plans. I was going to ride in another 50 mile group training ride on Saturday and watch the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. How could it not get any better? It couldn’t. It could only get worse.

Many of you know that I’ve experienced ongoing issues with my crankset and I honestly thought they were fixed. Over the last three weeks I’ve had the bottom bracket replaced, the chain replaced, and the drivetrain cleaned and tuned up. The cleaning and tuneup were performed last Thursday and my bike rode like a dream on Friday morning. I was really looking forward to the big group ride on Saturday morning and seeing if I could replicate the numbers from the 52 mile ride the week before.

I arrived at the host LBS at 7 AM, got signed in, and ready to ride. I even turned a couple of laps around the parking lot just to make sure everthing was OK and it was. A few minutes later we all gathered for the pre-ride instructions and then we were ready to roll.

Not a half-mile into the ride I start experiencing a significant creaking sound coming from the bottom bracket/crank area. At first I couldn’t believe it and thought it might be someone elses bike. It can’t be mine because I had just had all that work done on it. Oh how I was wrong.

I pulled over onto a side street to give it a look. A fellow rider was kind enough to stop and lend a hand. We both looked at it and couldn’t find anything obvious. The pedals looked OK and there was no lateral play in the cranks. Sufficiently baffled we set off and the sound started up right away again. The guy who stopped said he thought something is loose down in the bottom bracket. By this time I’m pretty upset because I knew I’m going to have to turn around and forget the ride. And that’s what I did.

By the time I get back to my car I’m livid. I throw the bike on the rack and start heading over to the bike shop that did the work to have them fix the problem. Whatever it was. That’s when things really started to go downhill.

About two miles down the road I get pulled over for speeding. You can only imagine how that set me off. I kept my calm with the state trooper and graciously accepted the ticket. He did cut me a break on it which I appreciated. I got pulled over on a four-lane divided highway that has a posted speed limit of 45 mph. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone drive 45 mph on that road. I guess with it being a Saturday morning they were there to enforce the speed limit since there were only a few cars out and about at that time of day. Unfortunately, they caught me in their trap and I paid the price. I think there’s a lesson to be learned there.

So I continue onto the bike shop, with $150 speeding ticket in hand, and arrive to find them closed. Perfect. I rushed over there, and got busted by old smokie, for nothing. Can’t get any worse than that right? Oh contraire.

I head back to the shop after they’ve opened and talk to them about the bike. To make a long story short they’re sticking to the story that I have the wrong type of crank bolt. A few weeks earlier I was told by one mechanic that the bolt was wrong. Another mechanic, who did my bottom bracket, said it was the right kind. Whatever. I tell’em to put the correct one in. They don’t keep it in stock. I’m not surprised by that since they are Sugino cranks and not a standard item on Specialized bikes anymore. Then I ask when they can have one in. They only order on Mondays and won’t get it until Thursday. By now I’m speechless. A full week without the bike. Not what I wanted to hear but I didn’t have much choice.

Three days later and it’s now Tuesday. I’m still really upset about the whole ordeal but what bothers me the most is not being able to ride. Riding is my outlet and the only thing I have right now. It’s helping get healthy, it’s getting me out of a house full of women, it’s getting me out there to meet other cyclists, I’ve just discovered the great fun I can have doing group rides, and I need my bike to continue training for the Tour de Cure in May. That’s what bothers me more than anything. I can deal with mistakes by mechanics, or even my mistakes, but don’t take away my bike.

I’ve come to the conclusion that even if they fix my crankset that I’m going to upgrade to something better that’s stiffer than the Suginos and more reliable. I’ve spoken with Victor @bicyclelab and Josh @probikewrench and they both recommend going with an Ultegra 6700 Crank Set. It should work fine with all of my current components which is what I wanted to confirm before buying anything. I’ll do that eventually but want to make sure I find it for a good price as it isn’t cheap at over $200.

So, how was your Saturday?

PhotoC: Dylan Boroczi