Bent Shock


It’s a sad day when you see something like this. What you’re seeing in the photo above is a rear shock, which is supposed to be straight, but which is now defining a suspicious and unsafe angle. It means I jumped something a little too high or too hard, or both. It means the end of an era. In this case it means the end of life for my bike. The part would need to be remade, replaced, and they don’t make parts for this particular model any longer. The bike had a good run, a good number of years before it died. It’s a 19 pound titanium frame which, by the way, once had hydraulic brakes on it. Sometime in the bike’s lifespan I opted for a more reliable system of cabled brakes. All these great features are pointless to mention since the bike is no longer operational. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

Speaking of brake systems, I had to bleed and refill my hydraulic brakes on my other bike. Hydraulic brakes are so primitive. To do an oil recharge is like doing a blood transfusion. You have to pump the fluid from one set of tubes to another. The general idea is to remove all the air out of the system, but also to make sure you have quality oil in there, or in other words to give it fresh blood. Apparently, if you have any sort of exposure to a brake system operating with hydraulic oil, you can get contamination like dirt or air or water in there, and then the system doesn’t work right. So then you have to start all over. You have to remove the contamination. Huh! Contamination on a mountain bike! Ridiculous! You mean I have to avoid hitting anything that might damage the delicate brake system? You mean I have to use caution while careening off a near-vertical surface, a surface decorated with nature’s best rocks and trees? Sounds about as reasonable as treating a migraine with speed metal.

Does the sarcasm come through? Can you hear it? Can you feel it? I’m hoping the sarcasm translates through the writing. I don’t have much patience or respect for hydraulic brakes. More than once, with more than one bike, hydraulic brakes have failed while I was on a trail. Confession, of course, is that I did something reckless that caused the failure. In comparison, though, if I had done the same reckless thing with cables, the cable system would have survived. And of course, since I’m also confessing that I recharged my other bike, you can see I haven’t quite learned my lesson.

How does someone learn to hear their own sarcasm?

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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