After the usual much ado, I slipped out of the house just after I put my daughter down for her nap. (Rest easy; her mom was still home). I was running a little behind, so I kept a sprightly pace to the staging area of a local club ride, somewhat uncertain about what the afternoon would hold. The ride was listed as 30-50 miles, which is a pretty wide range when one is trying to determine whether to ride or drive to the starting point (located approximately 13 miles from my house). I tried calling the ride leader three times, but was forced to leave voicemail messages. So I decided just to go and see what happened.
Alas, I arrived at the designated area and there was nary a soul to be found. I took advantage of the opportunity to rest and have some water, while I thought about where I was going to ride. Just as I was about to get back on my bike, Bob showed up. Bob is not the ride leader. Bob is a member of the group I rode with last Friday. Bob rides a two-wheeled recumbent with a wind fairing. Bob is a perfectly nice fellow who just happens to be absolutely enamored with the sound of his own voice. Bob rides just a little slow for my taste. (NB: I’m not an especially fast rider, by any means.) I guess you could say he meanders in a manner similar to his stories. Bob has lots of stories.
So for about 20 miles or so, I listened to Bob’s stories. Then he turned back to find his car, and I continued on beyond where the bike path ends and back through town, fighting traffic and terribly nasty roads. It was a gorgeous day (following nearly a week of rain), even a little on the cool side. And any day on the bicycle is a good day (especially after not riding for nearly a week). But it was not one of my better days once all was said and done. I wish I had been able to stay out much longer.
In other news, I’ve had to replace two perfectly good tubes in a week’s time on account of the internal pin in my presta valves breaking. Ugh! What’s going on?! Shortly after arriving home from my ride this afternoon, I loaded up the homestead gang and we all made for the local bike shop to restock on tubes. When I told him what had happened, the shop owner recommended spraying a bit of WD-40 in the end of the pump so that the nozzle will slip on and off the valves more easily. We’ll see. I think the valve pins were busting because they were cheap, poorly made tubes. Why? Because the front tire has a higher-quality tube in it. I pump it up every time I top off the back, and it’s been fine.
While we were perusing the many fines wares of the shop, a good-looking, well-designed, and deeply discounted Pearl Izumi lightweight wind & rain jacket caught the fancy of dear Ms. McCaskill. Now, at present, dear Ms. McCaskill rides a 70s-era Schwinn Breeze, when she rides at all that is, which isn’t often. It’s not the sort of bike one associates with Pearl Izumi gear. Meanwhile, I quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) pine for the day when the spirit of cycling in all its multifaceted glory will possess and take hold of dear Ms. McCaskill in the same way it has me so it will be something we do together. So while we debated whether to act on this impulse (she’s drawn to discount racks like a moth to flame, and she really liked the jacket because it was red, but she came around to playing the PALM card saying that it was something she needed for the trip), I wondered to myself if this wasn’t precisely the break, or even the sign, that I had been waiting for. Here’s hoping there’s magic in those there high-tech fibers.