You never have the wrench you need…


This past trip to Arizona marked the first time Sarah and I traveled with our bikes. We had a bout with indecisiveness regarding the travel bag/case we would use for our bikes. Nicole lent us a soft case (I forget the brand right now) and I rented a Tyco hard case from Wheat Ridge Cyclery. I also rented a demo bike from WRC, a Trek Domane 5.2, the men’s version of the bike Sarah bought last year.

We bought a little bike multi-tool which was very handy for breaking the bike down for travel. For both bikes we needed to remove the pedals, seat post, both wheels, and the handlebars. Packing the Tyco was easy, hauling it was not. The bike weighs probably 20 pounds with pedals and bike bags but the case weighed in at 48 pounds at the airport. The Tyco has only one short strap-like handle used to pull the thing behind you and it is too short – it hit the bag of my legs while we walked. This made the thing harder than it needed to be to move about. Airport park-n-ride was an adventure!

Meanwhile the soft case had none of those issues. It had plenty of handles and unloaded the bag probably weighed (at most) 10 pounds. When full of bike it was shaped like a trapezoid with a shoulder strap at the top. It was WAYYY easier to move about. There is a wheeled version of this bag and I think we will by a pair of those bags.

Re-assembling the bikes was a snap but, annoyingly, I had let the air out of my tires for transport and a pump was not readily available in the hotel room. Luckily we were not far away from a bike shop where we simply brought my wheels and they inflated them for me. Sarah wondered why I had done that – I read somewhere that I should – which the bike guy at the local shop confirmed. Sarah didn’t and her tires did not explode and the plane did not fall from the sky so on the way back I kept mine inflated.

At any rate, it was time for bike breakdown on Sunday evening. Of COURSE we waited until 9 PM because…why not? First task, use the 8 MM hex head on our little bike multi tool to remove the pedals. First pedal, pull, tug, nothing. The following three, same thing. Push harder, step on it…nothing. Watch a you tube (even though we have done this many times) and tried again. Nothing. Sarah insists she used this tool to remove her pedals in Colorado but I had used a long handled 8 MM hex wrench which gives plenty of leverage to quickly break the bolt free. Of COURSE I had not packed this wrench because someone told me she got her pedals off with the multi tool.

We are exhausted from the weekend and bewildered by our utter failure at a very basic bike mechanic task and I decided we simply needed to acquire a long handled 8 MM hex wrench to take these things off. Where does one find that tool at 2100 on Sunday night? There can only be one choice, Wal Mart! We set off to an open Wal Mart unsure if Wal Mart would carry this wrench. The first set we picked up stopped at 6 MM. Finally we found a set (because you can’t just buy the 8 MM wrench, you have to buy the whole set) which included the 8 MM wrench, but also included all the imperial sizes as well. For $16 we didn’t care (now I have 4 sets of hex wrenches) and when we got back to the hotel room the 8 MM long handled hex worked perfectly. The rest of the bikes – thankfully – came apart easily.


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