I was riding in on the single speed Lotus (Lumina is up in CT) as I have been doing to build the legs up. Non regular riding means more extreme riding when you can to compensate. It won’t build you up the same way, but it’s better than nothing.
Anyway, I’m pedaling along and I notice a creak, creak, which I think is from the pedal because: a) I can feel it through the pedal, and b) it happens every time my right pedal is at 3 o’clock.
Turns out someone has taken two chain ring bolts off my bike.
For the layman, your pedals are attached to cranks. The toothed gear (on which sits the chain) is bolted to the right crank. Those are called “chain ring bolts,” and they hold that toothed gear (or cog) onto the cranks.
Now, I didn’t put this bike together. But from what I’ve seen of the rest of this guy’s work, it’s solid. And while I do ride hard (I eat headsets) I don’t think I ride hard enough to loosen and pop out two chain ring bolts.
So I figured I’d check the bike. Here’s the next weird thing. One of my rear brake pads had been loosened also.
I find all this highly unlikely to be random chance. Given that I just tightened the brake pads two weeks ago.
So, let’s assume human agency.
What’s weird about this is that to do either you need separate tools. A hex key set and a wrench.
Could the person have been a thief, interrupted mid task?
I think not. Neither part itself has value. Nothing was taken from the rear brake, and the two bolts cost, maybe 50 cents each, tops. Brake pads are also pretty cheap. The chainring itself is nothing special – standard 90s issue, worth about $7 at a used parts place.
But I have a decent saddle, which wasn’t taken although the hex key would have got a thief that as well. There’s also a decent rear wheel (single speed freewheel) which also wasn’t taken, even though it’s only held by a skewer (that means you can take the wheel off with your hand, by manipulating a small lever).
So, the bike thief ignored portable and decent parts to jigger with completely valueless but important parts?
Are you starting to see my problem with this?
But here’s the next issue – assuming this was sabotage, it’s unlikely that taking the bolts or only messing with my back brake would make me crash. I might ovalize the chain ring or (more likely) bend it out of true if I climbed really hard, but that’s about it.
There’s always the possibility that you do go down though – if the chain suddenly drops off a bent ring and you have no tension to push against. It’s easy to unbalance in tight city riding.
If the bike were a fixed gear, then maybe it would have brought me down, assuming the cog warped and the chain locked or came off. But I’d still have the front brake, which looked fine to me.
But I have to assume that anyone who knew enough to remove two chain bolts would be able to tell a fixed gear from a single-speed. (I also have to assume this weighs against the interrupted-thief idea, for no bike thief would try to remove chain ring bolts even on a fixed gear – that’s just stupid – it would get you nothing but the chain ring itself, which, as I said, was pretty much worthless. Also, if you wanted the chain, you’d have to use a special tool to get it off the frame, so *that* couldn’t be it either)
So, it seems more like fuck-with-your-head type stuff. Or at least that’s my tentative conclusion.
Suspects? I got none. I realize I annoy plenty of people, but that means I just don’t get invited to parties.
Perhaps this was a random act of sabotage against any bike that happened to be handy? That’s a little weird. But who would want to expose me to death or injury? That’s kind of weird too.
So there’s no real good resolution here. Just weirdness. Anyone out there ever randomly drop 2 chain ring bolts at the same time?