What had originally been planned as a short ride Friday, quickly went long (as can happily happen given a bike and a beautiful day). Not only did I pedal to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but also shouldered my bike with me up the park’s killer hillside steps.

Sadly, this is the last ride for 8Ball, a 21.78-mile route. I felt something snap relatively early on in the ride, but the bike didn’t start misbehaving so I kept going hoping it was only a spoke. By the time I got within sight of the overlook, the bike was noticeably not right, and sure enough once I’d hiked it up to the top I discovered a massive crack through both the seat and bottom tubes of the frame, just above the bottom bracket… eerily similar to the mortal wound suffered by The Phoenix, my first singlespeed, in 2008.

I know: WHOA. Right? I don’t know what it is with me and bikes. I don’t ride them rudely. I treat them with the utmost love and respect. I guess given my size and my big-ass legs cranking them over the thousands of miles of hard road I roll them over, I just can’t help but accelerate their life spans. This is a track frame, after all. Built for the civilized banked and smooth lanes of velodromes, not the billion bumps of the boulevards. All the while bearing my mass.

Guess we’ll see if Bikesdirect.com will help me out with another affordable frame replacement offer — if so it’ll be a repeat of what they did that allowed me to acquire this frame in the summer of 2009 after my first purchase got disconcertingly unstable but without any visible breakage. But in the meantime if you see me on the road, such as today’s CicLAvia it will be upon my trusty Giant OCR-3 road bike who’s never failed me in what’s coming up on our tenth anniversary together.

Back atop the scenic overlook, after finding the frame’s faultline, I considered my mass transit options in getting home, but since it wasn’t cracked through decided to risk it by riding slooooooowly home. Doing so allowed me my inaugural roll along the freshly painted Expo Line bike lane that’s been laid down between Jefferson and La Cienega and USC. It made it a much less stressful and a bit more somber way to go, and she got me home safe.

Great day. Sad day. Rest in peace, 8Ball.