Turning Japanese

6 08 2010

One of the less-heralded benefits of cycling is that is saves you money.

Not just in gas for your car.

If I’m riding all day, there’s just not much opportunity to spend money, aside from lunch/snack at the midway point.

Not today, though.

Last week, en route to my country ride with Katie, I heard a very loud, very distinct squealing noise coming from somewhere in the vicinity of the rear wheels of my car whenever I got up to highway speed. The noise disappeared the instant I tapped on the brakes, or took a right turn.

It was so loud, so high-pitched, packs of dogs gathered along the shoulder as I passed.

I thought I might be losing a wheel bearing.

So I made an appointment at the garage, loaded my bike on the roof rack, and headed off to drop my car and go for a ride with my buddy, Rich.

Dropping the car at the garage, hoping for the best.

It’s rare I get riding company on a Friday, as most everyone I know is working. But Rich was just finishing up his vacation, and he wanted to try my UBC route.

A half hour into our ride, the cell phone rang. It’s not a wheel bearing. Whew! No, it’s the rear brake calipers, they’ve seized, and they’re not cheap to replace. Ugh.

It’s amazing how much the joy of a ride can be diminished by the cold, stark realization that you’ve got a $1200 car repair bill awaiting you when it’s over.

Ah well, the HED Bastogne wheels I’ve been coveting will have to wait.

As we were both on deadlines – me to retrieve my car, Rich to embark upon a newfound sideline career as a slumlord – we needed to execute our turnaround precisely two hours into our ride. Which happened to be right at the world famous Japadog hot dog stand in downtown Vancouver.

I would salve the pain of my car repair bill with my very first Japadog experience.

Japadog is just a fancy hotdog with a Japanese twist; condiments include teriyaki sauce, plum sauce, fried cabbage, grated radish and bonito flakes.

During the Winter Olympics, the line of tourists looking to try this uniquely Vancouver variation on the smokie stretched for a block. Celebrities love the Japadog.

Chomping into my fist Japadog.

I tried the Oroshi; a pork bratwurst topped with grated radish, green onion and soy sauce. It was alright, nothing spectacular. Give me a brat with sauerkraut and raw onions any day!

Apparently not satisfied with the draining effect on my bank account wrought by the repairs to my car, after picking it up, I headed straight for the bike shop to spin some new wheels.

My Mavics are eight years old and the rear has developed a wobble that can’t be corrected at the spokes or by tightening the hub. They’ve had a good life, but they’re done. Time to put them down.

The shop didn’t carry the Bastognes, the Ardennes were a little rich for my pummeled wallet; so I settled for a pair of Fulcrum Racing 5‘s. Not the same sexy cachet as the HEDs, but I saved a few bucks and rid myself of the troublesome wobble.

When it rains, it pours.