Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Pedicab Scramble

This is the calm before the storm. I'm riding the pedicab. It's busy, but I'm wondering when the insanity will truly begin. I've heard 10pm. The night started rough. I was on a spare cab because the rear timing chain was broken on my usual bike. These bikes are old pieces of shit. I'm not being mean: they are total shit. The steerer tube of the $20 Pyramid brand shitty fork broke. Snapped right off, because the headset is loose, and there are about 10 spacers on it instead of zero, 'cause nobody wanted to buy a hacksaw and cut off the extra threads. There are no back brakes, so the full force of a loaded pedicab is slamming on a shitty fork built for a normal bicycle - and it's a shitty fork even for that. That means I was lucky not to lose my face. Seriously bad news, and this has happened before to my friend Mateos. On this bike. I was way out by the Casa Marina Hotel. I had nothing to steer with. I jogged and pushed from behind the cab with the fork turned backwards so I could 'steer' by turning the entire cab - if I kept up enough speed. Not easy. Once I got back to Duval St, my Serbian hero - Goya - gave me a lift while I 'steered' holding top tube and riding in the passenger section. He even picked up a fare going the same direction! I shared the back with a couple from Alaska. Back at the shop I very carefully - very, very, carefully - stole the back timing chain from that spare bike, and got my usual green machine back on the road. There are no spare chains, and I've never changed one of these types of chains. The theory is the same as a normal chain, but this chain is extra wide, and the cage plates are extra thick. It also takes a chain tool I'm not familiar with, that Anthony (pedicab guy) miraculously owns and keeps at the shop. I took my time and very calmly and meticulously took the 18 year old chain from the broken bike and transferred it to the green machine using a hammer, pliers, and that chain tool. I knew full well the whole time that if I fucked up just one link on this ancient chain, I would lose hundreds of dollars for the night. I got on the road at 6:30 with a feeling in my chest of explosions of relieved awesomeness.

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