Over the weekend, I ran into some more trouble with the new bicycle. About four miles from home, the left crank arm fell apart mid-pedal. It started wobbling and, as I slowed to a stop, completely fell off the bike. I have only owned the bike for two weeks, yet this was my second major issues. If you remember, it was basically DOA when I first brought it home due to a defective tire.
This weekend was particularly interesting because of record heat. I hadn’t ridden since last week because we were in Cleveland with friends over the holiday. I was excited to get back on the bike, heatwave or not. In a stroke of pure luck, the bike fell apart under the turnpike bridge, basking me in shade. I called Jess, who was kind enough to bring my socket set to me. Within minutes, I was back on the road.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the road for more than a mile before it fell off again. Jess came down a second time. Instead of attempting another repair, we loaded the bike into her trunk. I was scared that it wasn’t going to fit, we had never put anything that large in her trunk. After some careful handiwork, we managed to squeeze it in. I don’t know what people did before “quick release” wheels.
We brought the bike back to where I bought it and spoke with the manager. My first fear was that this was somehow caused when I installed aftermarket pedals and would no longer be under warranty. Fortunately for my wallet, that was not the case; replacing pedals doesn’t require any modifications or changes to the crank arm or crankset. The bike tech, Kevin, was completely shocked, this type of thing is supposed to never happen with new bikes. He replaced the defective/damaged crank arm fairly quickly.
Because this was my second major issue with the bike, he asked me to bring it in again this week. He wants to go over it again to make sure that parts aren’t coming lose. Their shop is located at the Pittsburgh Mills, which is basically straight up a small mountain from here. It will be a tremendous workout.
On Saturday, one of the DC Metro cars jumped the track. The record heat caused the track to become soft enough to bend under pressure. When I heard about this story on reddit, I immediately thought about my bike.
Was it possible that the aluminum crank arm was so hot, it bent during a moment of extreme pressure? While I am no body builder, my legs are the one area that I’ve really maintained decent muscle mass. Maybe I over-exerted the structural integrity of the crank arm during an incline just enough to bend the heated aluminum? More than likely, it was just a defective part. But, it’s fun to imagine that I’m really that strong. =)