Today I was unusually aggressive while going to work. I don’t know the exact reason, maybe it was a bit of inspiration from the great AnanthaVishwanathan. I remember crossing path with him on a commute ride when he was shooting for speed. He questioned me as to why I was riding slowly. I told him I liked to look around and ride relaxed when I am going to work.
At the Ejipura junction , on a slight uphill I found myself struggling. I didn’t feel particularly out of energy so I took a look down. The tires were well inflated, a quick visual look in the downward direction did not reveal anything obvious. Just as I crossed the traffic light, another guy on a regular Doodhwala cycle overtook me. Given that barely minutes had passed from being conscious of going fast to struggling on a gentle uphill, it seemed odd that the guy was overtaking me. So I stopped just after the traffic light , and checked. The brakes were touching the rim. Hmmm, unusual I thought, are the brakes stuck? So I proceeded to loosen the brake and continued cycling. Again, it was getting difficult to pedal. Now I was at the 2nd bus stop (There are two bus stops next to each other at the Ejipura end of the inner ring road stretch going towards Domlur). I kept looking at the brakes, adjusting and rotating the wheels, something still felt very very wrong. Tried to check the tension on the spokes to see if I had brokena spoke, still nothing came of it.
Then my eye went towards the wheel itself, it was stuck inside the fork in a weird way. This felt completely absurd and I could not figure out what was happenning for a few moments. And then the obvious struck me. The skewer was missing.
What the $@#@#? How did I miss seeing that when I was looking at the bike and checking things? A good 15 minutes+ had passed from the time I struggled to pedal to when I noticed the skewer missing. I quickly put back the wheel in place properly , readjusted the brakes (which didn’t need adjusting in the 1st place) and slowly pedalled the 2 km distance to work. All along , I was trying to figure out how the skewer broke and fell off. It simply made sense.
Then I remembered. I had worked from home the previous day since I had a mild infection. And the day before that, I had left the bike outside my house. The cycle was lying outside my house on the corridor for 2 nights and one day. Enough time for somebody to pull out a quick-release skewer. There have been bike thefts in my apartment. I am not sure if somebody decided to only flick the skewer or it was part of a larger initiative to cart away a wheel or even the bike. Or maybe the skewer did break and fall apart, though I think it is extremely unlikely.