Triumphant Return
0 comment Wednesday, May 28, 2014 |
Recent life changes *coughcough*new parent!*cough* have seen me and my bike neglected for the better part of a month. It's been bad. No sleep, no exercise, no playing in traffic. Driving to work everyday sucks. I don't know how people do it. But this week has seen a dramatic increase in bikely activities, and I intend to ride the momentum until I'm back to my former level.
On Sunday a couple of buddies showed up at my back porch and yelled, "Grab your bike!" They were figuring out checkpoints for our upcoming Tour de Pants race and wanted me to come along. I rushed out the door, no wallet, no lock, no helmet (ssh) and pedaled around Norfolk for a few hours. It was wonderful. The weather was warm, there was a good breeze, and we were riding just to ride. Four people seems to be about the perfect group size to bike randomly from one place to the next. We picked several public locations in which to stop and change pants before moving on to the next. I'm looking forward to this Sunday and having lots of pantless fun.
At one point we came up to a railroad crossing right as a train approached. Suddenly my friend took off down the gravel path next to the tracks and we all followed, three track bikes and one mountain bike. I'm always paranoid when I'm riding over things like sand, gravel, and cobblestones that my tiny wheels are just going to slip out from under me. But (knock on Phil Wood) that hasn't happened yet. What did happen though was some of the palm-sized rocks conspired to tear a big ass gash in the sidewall of my front tire, causing an instant flat. A flat we fixed before realizing it was a hole in the sidewall, through which the new tube promptly bubbled out of and popped again. Hooray. While two of us tag-teamed the problem the rest occupied themselves by throwing rocks at an old building across the tracks.
The problem was resolved with a Gerber (which we dubbed The Pleatherman), an old military supply membership card, some electrical tape, and lots of hand pumping motions that prompted obvious jokes. Thus fixed I rode around for another hour or more without any trouble, and even when I checked the tire again four days later it had held it's air just fine. As we saddled up someone remarked that little adventures like this on a bike were fun, even if was just fixing a flat by the train tracks for thirty minutes.
Then yesterday I was interviewed by a fellow cyclist for almost two hours about how and why I got into cycling in general and the community events like alleycats and Critical Mass. I got to ride my beloved ferry to get to the interview and showed up early enough to play in the streets for twenty minutes beforehand. Talking to another cyclist about angry drivers, garbage bag raingear, finding commute routes, getting doored, and any number of tangents was super fun. His digital recorder actually died before we got finished. It felt a bit like a blind date meeting a stranger to sit down and talk but my nervousness went right away and I'm sure he wished I wasn't quite so forthcoming with all of my thoughts and stories!
I'm getting used to my new sleep schedule and looking forward to hitting the roads again. As our new little addition gets familiar with being born and cries less I'll be more apt to go out and race, joing CM, and maybe even go for a solo ride or two. And it can't come soon enough.