You know how it goes... you go into a store looking for one thing, and walk out with a whole other thing.
In my case, saving a few ounces by not having a kickstand on my 2007 Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike had worn thin after twelve years of leaning the bike up against something whenever I wasn't riding it.
So I decided to splurge on a $10 kickstand at Eurosports, which was close by since we were spending some time at the house in Black Butte Ranch that we have a 1/4 share in.
I'd actually just purchased the kickstand when I heard my mouth saying to the sales guy, "But you know, I'm curious about what new bike you might suggest, since we've pretty much stopped riding on dirt trails and will be cycling on the asphalt bike paths in Black Butte Ranch now."
After being pointed to a red Roll Sport and taking it for a test ride, I was instantly smitten.
I liked the upright riding posture. The big fairly smooth tires felt better than the narrower knobby tires on the Rockhopper. The disc brakes were pleasingly grippy. And red was a more energizing color than the black bike I'd been riding for a dozen years.
So I got out my credit card and paid $600 for the Specialized Roll, plus some extra for a rear rack. Above is a photo of the Eurosports employee who helped me, posing with my new bike. He kindly attached the basket that I'd been using to the Roll's rear rack.
After driving back to Black Butte Ranch to put a bike rack on our SUV, and to bring back my Specialized Rockhopper for a trade-in, I loaded the Roll on the rack and took the bike to its new home.
Unfortunately, my first ride didn't fare very well. I have no idea how this happened, because the Shimano shifter on the Roll was the same as I'd been using on the Rockhopper, but the chain slipped off after I'd done a shift only a hundred yards or so from the Black Butte Ranch house.
I then spent an hour or so trying to get the chain back on the sprockets.
I'd done this before when a chain slipped off, but this time the chain was wedged tight between the outer edge of the largest sprocket and a metal plate. I yanked on it; I loosened the rear wheel and yanked some more; I rotated the pedals and hoped that would do the trick.
Nothing worked. I did, though, get my hands nicely greasy, so that made me feel a bit like a bike mechanic, albeit an incompetent one.
Today I took the Roll back to Eurosports, where I fully expected a real bike mechanic to do something-or-other in a minute or two, turn to me, and say, "If it ever happens again, that's how you can get the chain unstuck."
However, I was almost pleased to discover that the guy who had sold me the Roll also was unable to get the chain out of the weirdly shaped space on the outside of the gear sprockets. I say "weirdly," because one would think that the bike designers at Specialized would either make the space too small for a chain to slip into, or large enough to easily get it out off.
Instead, the space almost seemed maliciously designed to be just large enough to trap a chain.
It turned out to be a rivet that was preventing a link from slipping out, something the guy on the right figured out -- who wasn't even a Eurosports employee, but was, I recall, a manufacturer's representative with something like 25 years of bicycle experience.
With his expert help and advice the chain was cut, the sprocket removed, and the stuck chain released. He said that this happens fairly frequently, which made me feel a bit better, since I was feeling kind of bad that it took so much work to release the stuck chain.
I wasn't charged for the repair job given that I'd just bought the bike. I was impressed that the manufacturer's representative guy spent so much time working on getting the chain unstuck, since I gather he was just visiting the Eurosports store.
But this is the spirit that makes every visit I've made to a bicycle store enjoyable.
Hanging around Eurosports, waiting for the chain to be unstuck in-between walking around the charming Sisters downtown shopping area, I got to see quite a few conversations between Eurosports staff and various customers, ranging from lycra-clad "pros" to casual cyclists like me.
Everybody was treated like old friends, even if they were newcomers to the store. There's something really appealing about bicycle culture. It's like an egalitarian club where you're treated the same no matter whether you're riding a $3,500 bicycle or a $200 bicycle.
Today's late afternoon bike ride with my wife, Laurel, went pleasingly smoothly. Here I am with Red Roll starting across the Big Meadow trail at Black Butte Ranch. A herd of cows provided a melodious mooing accompaniment to the picture-taking.
Having ridden our bikes a whole 20 minutes or so on almost completely flat ground, including a shortcut walk across a golf course fairway, I felt completely entitled to take off my bike gloves and restore our lost calories with a hummus plate and salad at the Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro.
(Laurel is walking to the edge of the lake to take photos of the diffusers used to keep the water clean, since our neighborhood association uses a similar system in Spring Lake south of Salem, but we need more of them, given how many are in the roughly similarly-sized Black Butte Ranch lake.)