Saturday, August 29, 2009

This Week on Pedalcycling

I had the best of intentions this week . . .

Sunday, I took a short ride to the park. The only memorable part of the ride was the violet wildflowers growing alongside the path.

Monday, I had a great ride into work. You know, every ride into work is usually great. Traffic is light, noise is low, legs are fresh, and temperatures are cool. I love riding in the morning!

Monday afternoon, I was putzing around in my office trying to tie up some loose ends when my colleague, Pam, stuck her head in the door and told me that a storm was approaching and I'd better get to riding.

Thunder rumbled outside. I questioned whether it was wise to ride in what might turn out to be a thundersorm. However, the prospect of staying at work even longer prompted me to take a chance with the elements.

Fifteen minutes into the ride, the rain hit. It started gently, then built quickly into a typical Houston soaker. The road quickly became slippery, and wind gusts made balancing a challenge a couple of times.

Lightning flashed in the distance for a little while. One bolt crashed very close; the flash and sound, which were almost simultaneous, almost knocked me off of my bike.

And, boy, were drivers cranky! One of the things that amazes me in Houston is that almost nobody slows down when there is standing (or running) water on the roadway. This day was no exception. Drivers exceeded the speed limit, almost without exception, in spite of poor visibility and the risk of hydroplaning. My presence was most unwelcome, and a few speeding cars made that known as they roared past.

Soaked, and a little bit shaken, I decided to seek shelter at a restroom facility in the park. Of course, just as I approached the driveway to that building, the rain stopped. The rest of the ride passed without incident.

I suspect that the lower temperature helped me to feel relatively fresh when I arrived at the house. Since I was feeling pretty spry, I decided to go ahead and check tire pressure and fill up tires. When I went to fill the rear tire, I discovered that three spokes were broken on the rear wheel. I had already noticed that it was out of true.

So, the bike rack went on the back of the car, and the bike went to Bike Barn. Since the bike had been tuned a month ago, I had noticed that the chain skipped when on the small chainring, so I told Maxx, the mechanic, about both problems.

I was thinking that I might need to have a new 40-spoke rear wheel built to support my less-than-lithe body. Maxx said that several options came to mind and that he'd look it over, but he felt like there shouldn't be broken spokes so soon after a tune up, and that there would be no charge.

Unfortunately, the bike wouldn't be done until Wednesday evening, so I would miss my Wednesday commute. :-(

When I picked the bike up on Wednesday, Maxx told me that a screw had come loose on the chainring; tightening it stopped the skipping. The rear wheel got re-laced with heavier-gauge spokes. As far as I'm concerned, that's way above and beyond what they needed to do. Guess where I'm going to do almost all of my bicycle shopping from now on?

Bike Barn
12118 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77077

Due to two consecutive days of working at school until 10 p.m., the Friday commute didn't happen, either. Last night, I fell asleep in the recliner at around 7:30, and went to bed at around 9.

This morning, up at 6 and in the mood for coffee, I decided to take a ride. Cool air greeted me as I pedaled toward my favorite Starbucks. The bike rolled like it hasn't for awhile . . . of course, that could be due as much to a summer of almost daily rides as it was to the trued wheel. Yeah, right!

Nothing beats an early morning ride in cool air to enjoy a cup of coffee at sunrise! I hope that's a pleasure I can continue to enjoy for many years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment