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2003-11-07 8:43 PM
Back from Brossard
The rear wheel made clicketa noises all the way from the Brossard Comfort Inn to the MontrĂ©al train station, getting worse as I went. I assumed it was the tail ends of the cable ties clicking against the spokes--the cable ties were holding the broken rack together; the rack holds my panniers up; panniers are bicycle saddlebags--but when I stopped to move the cable ties away from the spokes, I found they were nowhere near them. So my next assumption was that the wheel bearing was going. Nothing I could do but hope it lasted until I got to the station.
I made good time, even with the 40ish pounds of pannier on the back: one hour from the hotel to the intersection the train station is at. However, I couldn't find the station, so that took an additional 10 minutes of dinking around--during which clunk! and somebody suddenly put the brakes on. Okay, the wheel bearing finally seized. So I had to PUSH it, which took some real effort, especially on those hills.
Then there was nonsense about how to get the bike onto the train. I stood in line with the other passengers because I'd been told by Amtrak (on the phone, before I left) that I should wheel it to the baggage car. The ticket-checking lady who walks down the line of waiting people told me to take it to the baggage room. So I PUSHED it to the baggage room, and they told me to take it down to the train myself. So I PUSHED it back into the line--and of course, I'd lost my place.
So the lady got a little flustered and started babbling something about somebody being a senior red cap, and maybe he'd take it, to which my response was to do nothing and hide my irritation, and eventually, two elderly ladies and I got to board early. They were very impressed when I brought the bike down on the escalator. Later I realized they were impressed with the pogies, not my superb escalator skills.
So I PUSHED it to the escalator, and PUSHED it up to the baggage car, and there was no bike rack (again). So the baggage guy asked if I had a chain for it, and when I U-locked it to a pole, I noticed that it rolled more easily with the panniers off. A quick, probing hand under the rack, and I guessed that what might be happening wasn't that the bearing had seized. It was that despite my cable-tie repair doing its job and keeping the rack from collapsing entirely, there was still enough play that the whole thing had shifted position so that the taillight was pressing on the tire. With 40 pounds of pannier pressing straight down, that would basically be a brake.
Which is why examination of my taillight on disembarking in Forest Hills revealed a tire-shaped gouge in it. So I bent it away from the wheel and rode home, and that was that.
The new rack came today. It's rated at 50 pounds, so next trip, that won't be what breaks.
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