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jeneralist 09-25-11 06:57 PM

A new Clydely way to break bike bits
This weekend I participated in the "City to Shore" fundraiser ride for the MS Society. Phil and I took the 78-mile each way option, from Cherry Hill NJ to Ocean City and back. Yesterday, between riding to the start and riding to the hotel, we rode for 90 miles on very flat terrain. (At a new record pace for me for distance riding: 13.0 miles/hr)

The group thinned out considerably between yesterday and today. Most of the less experienced riders had taken the one-way option -- so yesterday I was able to chat with folks on hybrids as we were chugging along, but today I was getting passed by pacelines. My secret schadenfreude, of course, was the guilty delight I took when I saw those same riders get SAGged. Flat tire? Hey, I'm running 700c by 32 commuting tires with gatorskins -- none of those skinny slicks for me. Broken spoke? Maybe you should have 32 spokes made of 13g steel, instead of 20 little strands of unobtanium.

And then...

I was about 50 miles in to today's ride. Getting a bit tired, but still chugging along. I went over some railroad tracks; then a few tenths of a mile later, I went to stand up on the pedals and stretch my legs.

Clatter! Clatter-tinkle-thump! Phil, riding behind me, needed to take immediate evasive action to dodge the saddle coming towards him. I looked down and back when I heard the sound of metal hitting the road and saw a naked seat post.

Somehow, I managed to unclip without 1) sitting down or 2) falling over.

After we both pulled over and went looking for bits and pieces, we found the saddle (big and hard to lose), the seatpost (still on the bike, still clamped in), and the two metal "microadjustable" widgets that clamp onto the seat rails and screw into the seat post. What we didn't find was the bolt or screw that holds it all together.

Yes, dear Clydes and 'Theenas, I broke the bolt that held my saddle on. How's that for a "big" ooops!:lol:

I have to say that the SAG services were amazing. This all happened about 20 yards from where a support truck was helping another rider with a tire change. As he started to pull away, I flagged him down (by waving my seatpost). He didn't have the missing bolt -- but he did have an entire spare seatpost, which he cannibalized to get the part we needed. The whole episode was corrected in about 15 minutes.

And after the 78 mile ride, Phil and I kept riding, making deliberate detours on our way back home so he could get his first century, and I could get my 2nd. Total mileage for the weekend: 190 miles.

Mithrandir 09-25-11 07:11 PM

Hehe nice story :)

I fear those weird disasters, such as seatpost bolts breaking, will strand me somewhere someday. It's always the thing you can't realistically prepare for!

dhender02 09-25-11 08:12 PM

Great story... Thanks for sharing...

Sayre Kulp 09-25-11 10:44 PM

Way to go! That's definitely a NEW way to break stuff!

Rona 09-26-11 01:07 AM


That's all I can say. I'm glad you're safe and didn't crash!

chefisaac 09-26-11 02:39 AM

jen: great story. I want to do that ride next year. How was the support? Were the roads marked? Were there enough stops to refuel and rest? How were the hills (someone told me just the bridges were the tough part....thoughts?) Did you have to raise money or did you just pay the entrance fee (think I heard you could do this)? Sorry for all the questions! :)

billyymc 09-26-11 03:48 AM

If it makes you feel any better, same thing happened to me on my daily commute a couple years ago. It sure is a shocker when the seat gives way underneath you!! Congratulations on your ride.

Street Pedaler 09-26-11 04:13 AM

Wow, that's way cooler than my asploding BB Bearing. Nothing cool ever happens to me. Glad it worked out though. :)

jeneralist 09-26-11 04:32 AM


Originally Posted by chefisaac (Post 13278658)
jen: great story. I want to do that ride next year. How was the support? Were the roads marked? Were there enough stops to refuel and rest? How were the hills (someone told me just the bridges were the tough part....thoughts?) Did you have to raise money or did you just pay the entrance fee (think I heard you could do this)? Sorry for all the questions! :)

The support was great.

The roads were marked with orange paint blazes on the ground, plus orange cardboard signs on the telephone poles, plus (in many cases) police officers stationed at traffic lights and such. Plus, of course, cue sheets. But the truth is, except for a few miles in the middle of the ride on the 2nd day (when things had sort of thinned out), all I needed to do was see where the people ahead of me were going. 7000 riders means that it's tough to get lost.

Stops every 10-15 miles (except for the 1st stop on the 1st day, which was 20 miles in). Plenty of water and gatorade and oranges and clif bars and.... The lunch stop also had veggie burgers or chicken filets, and peanut butter sandwiches.

SAG, as I hinted at, was superb. I happened to have my incident about 20 yards from a SAG vehicle, so I really didn't need to wait for help. But if there wasn't one in sight, You could pull over and turn your bike upside-down, and get spotted by the motorcyclists with ham radios; or you could call in for help. There were multiple SAG teams. Bike shops had repair vans stocked with all manner of goodies (esp tubes, tires, and spokes, but including seat posts!) There were also pairs of panel trucks and passenger vans for the folks who needed to be transported: the bike went in the truck, the people went in the van.

Plus, there are ambulances. Just in case. I did see one rider getting loaded up into an ambulance; I don't know what had happened to put her there. I did see a few 0 mph falls at traffic lights when riders didn't unclip correctly.

The ride is mostly flat. You know the area, I think; most of the ride goes through the Pine Barrens. (If you go to and search for "City to Shore" you should be able to find route maps from previous years with their elevation profiles.) Yes, the worst hills are the two bridges to get from the mainland to Ocean City. Those are more of a navigation problem than a slope problem. You've probably heard me grouse that I really don't like hills. I didn't need to use my granny gear for either bridge either day. Instead, the big problem was dodging the other cyclists! We were all routed onto the shoulder, so there wasn't much room to maneuver. When someone makes the decision to walk their bike in the middle of the incline, and riders behind them need to slow down/stop/weave, it gets to be tricky. The bridges were much easier the 2nd day, partly because we were all fresher and partly because there was very little car traffic, so some of the riders were moving into the car lanes.

Depending on when you sign up, the entrance fee can be anywhere from $15 to $50. Plus, you need to raise $300 minimum. If you think of it as a $350 entrance fee, well, then you can do it all with the entrance fee.

And the ride goes on, rain or shine.

Joemess 09-26-11 03:50 PM

Had that happen on a solo ride once pre cell phones. Had to ride standing up 15ish miles to get to civilization. That was a new kind or sore.....

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