Monday, January 23, 2012

That's a new one for the Wall of Shame...

I suppose I should preface this entry with "Don't worry, I'm OK." There, now that I'm sure you're freaking out, I'll tell you a story.

So... today I was on my way to the bank, and, of all places, the bike shop, when I suddenly found myself and my bike sprawled out in a busy intersection.

Don't worry, I didn't get hit by a car. Nor did I hit a car. This is a tale of catastrophic structural failure.

I was following a line of cars making a left hand turn onto Woodlands Village Boulevard. We had a green light, as did the oncoming lane. I looked through the car in front of me to see the way was clear for both of us to proceed, and started cranking hard, as usual.

What happened next was not usual. Not at all.

As I stomped with my left foot, and pulled up with my right foot, powering into the intersection, there was a loud snap, and I stomped the pavement with no small amount of force with said left foot. I vaguely recall wondering why I was quickly tipping to the left, and then I went down. I got up quickly, picked up the bike, and speed-walked to the center dividing median.

Long story short, this is what happened:
The pedal body stayed attached to my shoe until I got into the crosswalk, where it detached without me noticing. Fortunately a lady (who I assume saw the whole thing) was nice enough to pick it up for me. I was just too hopped up on adrenaline to notice that my left foot was stepping funny.

So, I chilled for a moment, lamented that my left side was soaked from having fallen on wet pavement and the fact I had just washed that jacket, checked the bike over, and of course, took the picture above. I took about 5 steps toward home, then decided "Hey, I still have one good pedal. Might as well ride home!"

Riding two miles with one leg? Not fun. But it sure beats walking.

So, after a trip to Absolute, I took some more detailed pics of the damage.
The missing pieces of plastic where the spindle enters the body are still in the intersection.

Seems I stomped it into the pavement hard enough to crack the wing on the right side.

The rust spots developed after I got home... this was about three hours after the incident. Figure it broke, got smacked into salty road water, rust is gonna happen on bare steel like that.

The only thing I can figure is stress fatigue. Bi is my highest mileage bike, and I do not go easy on it. I pedal hard, and when I'm taking off, I can sometimes apply enough force to bow the chainstays outward enough to put a good inch of slack in a tight chain. Thinking about it now, I honestly can't say I'm surprised this happened. Maybe I should refine my riding style to prevent this from happening in the future. We'll see.

I will be sending Crank Brothers these pictures, for their input. I don't remember when I bought these pedals, I don't even have the receipt for them, and I'm sure they're out of warranty. I just want to know what they think of the failure. For what it's worth, if you take good care of them, Crank Brothers makes a great product. When I went to Absolute after the crash with Jack, I bought a new set of eggbeaters for the Austro-Daimler, for when it gets to that point. This broken spindle could have happened to anyone, on any brand of pedal. I just lost the coin flip for today, I guess.

The bike is fine, aside from some scrapes on the left end of the bar. I had an extra set of pedals, the ones I took off from Henry. Same color even. I'll be riding Bi to work tomorrow.

Myself? I'm not shaking it off as easily as Bi is. I whacked my elbow pretty hard on the pavement, and have a pretty good knot on it, as well as a few scrapes. It's gonna be pretty stiff tomorrow morning. My left hip also seems to have taken a hit, as it's a little sore. Definitely could have been a lot worse.

Though... once again, my helmet did absolutely nothing.

Mileage: 5 or so.

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