So I have two bikes – one that I ride around town and one that I use to tow the kids. Neither of them are in the greatest shape, but they get the job done. The one that I ride around town is an old bike, even older than me, and has been dormant for many years. I dusted it off, put some air in the dry-rotted tires, and was off. It seemed to be doing just fine for a while.
After a few longs rides, some of the dried plastic parts started to fall off, which was no big deal. The front basket collapsed, so I tightened some screws. One major problem that it had was that it kept shifting gears on me, so I stopped into a bike shop and they showed me how to keep that from happening, basically turn a screw.
On the way home from the bike shop everything froze up, and when I looked back my rear derailleur was in pieces behind me. I knew that this was not good. The bike was dead in the water, and I was not in the mood to be buying parts. My friend Tom had the great idea of picking a gear and simply converting it to a single speed, which I did. This took some tweaking, but also gave me another opportunity to clean the bike up some. Eventually this was done and riding the bike was even more pleasurable. It was liberating to ride a bike without worrying about switching gears, and the relatively flat terrain in Des Moines makes this possible.
Then, one day when I was riding around the block with the kids it happened. I went to move the pedals backwards and CLICK, they were locked. Now whenever my bike is moving, the pedals are moving. I know that some people do this on purpose (Tom being one of them), but I am not sure how I feel about it. I may try to make this permanent, so I no longer have to worry about hand brakes, but I am not sure yet.