The bike to nowhere

Here’s something you don’t see every day. And believe me, you don’t want to.

That’s the downtube on my wife’s Gary Fisher Simple City bike. She’s had it about 2 years and has been very happy with it. She commutes on it (about 7 miles each way), runs errands, and rides for fun. No curb jumping or riding up and down stairs, just the lakefront path and city streets. Sure, we have our share of potholes, but she does her share of trying to avoid them. She’s never had an accident on it.

Tuesday night she said the shifter was acting up, so I looked it over, adjusted it and it seemed to work OK. My first thought wasn’t “hmm, sounds like the frame’s coming apart.” Wednesday morning on her way to work she said it felt funny again, and somewhere on the bike path near Burnham Harbor the bike collapsed. She was very lucky to come away with just a bruise on one leg. Had it happened in city traffic a few blocks later, instead of on the bike path, it could have been very bad.

So we’ll take the bike back to Village Cycle, where she bought it, and see what happens. They told her there’s a lifetime guarantee on the frame, so we don’t expect any trouble. It’s a good shop.

In retrospect, maybe I should have thought “hmm, sounds like the frame’s coming apart,” since the shifter cable is routed inside the downtube. Or I should have taken the bike out for a short ride after adjusting the shifter, instead of relying on how it behaved in the basement. But I’m used to bikes being basically reliable. Lots of parts wear out at some point and are easily replaced. But the frame? On a commuter bike?

I checked Trek’s safety page (although the bike has Gary Fisher’s name on it, Trek makes it), but there are no recalls for the Simple City. So far, anyway.

We actually met Gary Fisher once at a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief (brainchild of SRAM’s founder), and my wife embarrassed him a bit by raving about the Simple City. He was there with a featherweight carbon bike being used by a SRAM-sponsored race team and probably didn’t expect anyone to bring up his retro-look commuter bike. But what the hell, the Simple City is a nice bike.

All in all, more proof of Paul Simon’s lyric, “everything put together sooner or later falls apart.” Also a reminder to take seriously the maintenance advice to check your bike for cracks periodically. I’ve done that on my bike maybe twice in eight years. I’ll do it more often from now on.


The bike shop called yesterday to say they have a new bike for her. We’ll probably pick it up tomorrow night.

2 Responses to “The bike to nowhere”

  1. Kicker says:

    ?Uf, me gust?! Tan clara y positiva.


  2. No BS and well written, thanks for the information

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