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#153 :: Spoke Wrench

July 12, 2004

You put your bikes on the roof racks. You pack the car with sleeping bags and stove and food and wine and toys an family. You stop in at McDonald’s to fuel up with grease-puck sandwiches and caffeinated fizzydrinks for your massive camping trip to Yosemite. You pull out of the drivethrough and – for just a second – into a metered parking space to whip out a knife and split a puck for the kids. “Uh-oh,” your wife says. “Parking Nazi.” You look up and see the overweight bike-patrol Parking Authority goon ticketing the car parked in front of you, and you panic. Rather than jumping out to just feed the meter, you mutter, “crap” and quickly goose the car across the street to park at the drive-through drycleaners. You finish carving up the sandwich, lick the grease off your knife, pocket it, say “All righty, let’s GO!” and punch the accelerator to head for the street. The sickening, horrific crunch reminds you that you are a moron. You have just driven through the drycleaners’ drivethrough, and the little overhead roof has completely peeled the bikes off the car’s roof, trashed the rack. The crash has reduced your Cannondale Lefty‘s wheel to an unrideable pretzeloid – and all your kindly, fatherly demeanor to a gutter-mouthed ball of self-directed rage. After much cursing and struggling, you rope the remains of your vacation to the roof, and set off for Fresno, where you spend two hours going from bike shop to bike shop in search of a wheel rim so you won’t have to walk (or worse, drive) all over Yosemite Valley. The third shop comes through. Rim in hand, you make it to Yosemite on the last fringes of a five-alarm migraine, pitch camp and fall into your tent, resolved to lace up the new wheel in the morning. You begin the painstaking job with trepidation, at first, carefully mapping old spoke locations to new wheel holes so you don’t bollix up the math, but things go more quickly, and the nifty little spoke wrench they sold you fairly flies around the spokes as you relace the wheel. Then you run out of spokes. They sold you the wrong rim – too many holes. A borrowed bike keeps the camping trip from being a total disaster, but on the way back through Fresno, you find the offending bike shop closed for the holiday. And now you’ve got this worthless $70 wheel rim and the bike’s still broken. And you have this spoke wrench.

Filed under: Tool | Comments (2)


  1. A Reader July 13, 2004 @ 2:06 am

    What about it?

  2. mack July 13, 2004 @ 10:35 am

    Good point. I put the photo up last night and published without adding the text. I shouldn’t work so late. Here, gimme a minute …