Ginkgo trees at Meiji Jingu Gaien

Calling the rainman’s bluff

Today’s forecast was cool and overcast, with rain in the evening. I took my time getting ready for the ride, and I checked the weather again before setting out about 9:30. The rain was now forecast for mid-afternoon. I figured I’d be fine as the Tokyo Landmarks ride is usually just four hours and change — I should be home well before the rain started.

The temperature was just 12C when I set out. I’d opted for an undershirt and my now-infamous manga jersey, but still in shorts, with medium socks. It was the perfect choice for the day. I wasn’t too warm for the ride, as I’d feared I’d be.

I was absolutely not prepared for the huge crowds of people who turned out in such blah weather for the yellow ginkgo leaves at Meiji Jingu Gaien. I had to negotiate both auto traffic and pedestrians. I took my time, and I stopped more often than usual on this route to snap the sights.

I’d just finished propping Kuroko up at the Imperial Palace moat and stepped away to take the snap when … Crash! She tumbled over splat on the sidewalk. Fortunately there were no joggers passing at the moment, and I righted her and got the photo. Soon after, though, I noticed some gear chatter — but only in one gear, the one I usually start on.

I was worried the fall had bent the rear derailleur, and I had a look when I stopped for a lunch of Nana’s world-famous onigiri at Tokyo Big Sight. But I eventually realized it was the front derailleur — the trim wasn’t working as expected. For the past couple of rides I’ve had trouble getting the derailleur to trim outwards (necessary when riding the smaller cogs on back), but now it wasn’t trimming inwards, towards the center of the bike (for the larger cogs).

It wasn’t a big issue for the remainder of the ride. The derailleurs were both still functioning and I had no trouble shifting. Sometimes there would be some chatter, but only in that one gear. At other times, I completed a full climb in the troublesome gear without any noise.

I’ve already got a replacement for the derailleur — an electronic shifter as a part of the Switching to Glide project. I decided rather than sort out whatever issue today’s fall caused, I’m going to get started on the conversion. I have the day off tomorrow, and it really will be raining. I’ll start by stripping down the bike and trying to extract the stuck bolts on the rear brake caliper.

I’d had my shades on since the sun had peeked out when I got to Shiba Koen about 10:30, but by the time I’d reached Tokyo Big Sight the skies were getting darker and gloomier. I put my shades away and started wondering if I really would get home before the heavens opened up.

GPS record of cycle route
Calling the rainman’s bluff

I wasn’t pushing hard today. My only deadline was to get home before the rain started, which I did. (It started raining just before dinner.) I stopped more than usual to take snaps. I only skipped two sights: Rainbow Bridge was just too gloomy, and I thought that Asakusa would be too crowded despite the grey skies.

My ride time was 3h6m, for an average moving speed of 19.4km/h. It wasn’t the fastest I’ve done this ride, but I wasn’t trying for a record. The climbs all posed no more than the usual challenge. I did get a personal best on Shinjuku Dori on the way to Yotsuya as I was racing home in the gloom with my lights on.

Related posts







2 responses to “Calling the rainman’s bluff”

  1. […] had a day off work today. Between the balky derailleur trimming yesterday and the inclement weather this morning, it was a perfect day to kick off the Switching to […]

  2. […] last week’s teardown, I had trouble removing the rear wheel from the frame. Kuroko had tipped over while posing for a photo the day before, and I was concerned that I’d bent the frame. Closer inspection revealed that […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent posts