Four stages of bicycle grief

25 06 2017

 

170625cannondale

She’s a little small, not as light nor as pretty as Lapierre. But I’m on the road again thanks to my friend, RDM, who has loaned me his old Cannondale basement bike to ease my despair.

 

Even on a borrowed ride, the road felt good.

Too bad the prognosis is not quite so positive for Lapierre.

The Carbon Guy expressed doubt when I sent him photos of the offending crack. When the chain stay on Lapierre was pierced last fall, he didn’t hesitate to declare his ability to make Lapierre whole again.

And so begin the four stages of bike grief.

When the Velofix tech first showed me the crack, I was numb, disbelieving. My beloved bike was wounded, but she’d been wounded before and recovered. Surely history could repeat itself.

I spent a few days steeling my resolve to contact Carbon Guy. I was hopeful, yet fearful; perhaps it wasn’t so bad, but what if it is?

I sent the email and photos late on a Friday evening, knowing I likely wouldn’t get a response until Monday. Perhaps I was buying time to come to terms with a verdict, no matter its outcome.

Since Carbon Guy’s less-than-enthusiastic reply thudded into my In box, I’ve toggled between acceptance and despair.

Surely I could find a new ride to steal my ardour?

But when a few hardcore evenings of Google searching yielded little that made my heart skip a beat, I became frustrated, morose; what if I can’t find a bike? What if the best part of the cycling season passes me by? What if I become fat and slovenly because I can’t deny my love for ice cream yet have no 100km rides to burn off the calories?

Lapierre was as close to a dream bike I’d come without the resources to spend $10,000. In a world of Treks and Specializeds and Giants and Cervelos, she was an uncommon beauty. Her ability to carve through a speedy descent without a concern was sublime. Her weight was so feathery she lifted my heart every time I hoisted her from her perch to prepare for a ride. She turned heads, the belle of the peloton.

To match those qualities will be difficult. To surpass them will be beyond my budget.





Breaking up is hard to do

18 06 2017

 

170618indianriver

In happier times, Lapierre (left) enjoys a respite, and the view, just before the steep climb out of Indian River Road.

 

My heart is cracked.

So is Lapierre.

For the second time in less than a year, the future of our beloved union is in doubt and emails have been dispatched in hopes a little carbon fibre therapy will keep us together. On the road.

 

170618pitt1

Finally, the weather is conducive to riding, but Lapierre may be left behind.

 

Last Sunday, I hit a divot in the pavement, a sort of smoothed pothole. I heard a loud snap and thought it was just the handlebar twisting in the stem clamp from the jarring impact; it’s happened before. But a few days later, as Lapierre was being tended by Velofix for a late spring tune-up, the wrench noticed a jagged crack at the back of the headset, about the length of a loonie.

 

170618crack1

Could this be the crack that comes between me and Lapierre?

 

My heart sank. Cracks in carbon are usually fatal, as repair is difficult and technicians with the skill and knowledge to make those repairs are few and far between. Fortunately, we have one, Robert Mulder, nearby.

He weaved his carbon magic on Lapierre last September when her chain stay was punctured by a flailing spoke. The repair is virtually seamless and I haven’t given it a second thought, even when screaming down descents.

But a repair to the headset might be more problematic, as that part of the bike absorbs so much impact from the road. I’ve sent photos to Mulder, and I await his assessment.

In the meantime, I’ve steeled myself for bad news.

Cyclists form a special bond with their bikes. After all, we’re attached at a pretty intimate part of our anatomy. Over the miles of road and gravel and dirt we spend together, we get to know every nuance of how the bike rolls, reacts and sounds. We learn its limits and when it can give just a little more. As we tend to its mechanical needs, we become familiar with every curve and junction, nook and cranny, every scratch, every nick.

So when that bond is in peril, the prospect of breaking up can be hard.

Sure, some will say, but there’s plenty of bikes in the shops; this is your chance to have some fun, play the field, maybe find your true bike.

But, as I’ve discovered in these past days of researching new rides that could steal my ardour, Lapierre is still in my head, and my heart. Every frameset is measured against her lithe lines, every paint job compared to her French mélange of flash and panache, every dimension doubted for its ability to match her fit and form.

Of course, the easiest thing would be to just find a new Lapierre, still sleek and sexy but with newer technology and engineering. But it seems Lapierre has abandoned the North American market.

So I’m left wanting. And hoping.

 

170618lastride

I can only hope this isn’t Lapierre’s last ride, on the roof of my car on a rainy afternoon following the discovery of the crack.