Thoughts While Cycling

  • Ever have one of those days when you were full of energy, never got tired, felt like you could ride 37 more miles when you came in from a 37 mile ride?  I had one yesterday.  Perhaps it was just so cool, dry, fresh, and bright (the temperature never got above 65˚) that riding was virtually effortless.  My legs still feel fine today, too.
  • Yesterday was the first day of the fall season when I had to wear long sleeves to be comfortable, and even then I was on the cool side for half the ride.  As runners say, dress for the second mile.
  • Wheeling my bike into the garage yesterday, it was strangely slowing at every revolution of the rear wheel.  Spinning it, the cause was clear enough: the wheel was out of true, and rubbing on the left rear brake pad.  Lance had one of those in his glory days, except that he climbed the whole Tourmalet with it, while I just did part of a trip to Ashburn and back.
  • But wait, there’s more: I bring the wheel in to Spokes, Etc. to get it trued, and what looks like a simple repair is, on closer inspection, an irreparable fracture of the wheel.  One of the spokes, under what must have been momentary extreme pressure, has ripped the part of the rim in which it is anchored.  Wheel replacement: $200+.  Oh, well, the new wheel, still a Bontrager, is a slight upgrade, and has the added coolness of bladed spokes, which are supposed to be stronger.  On order; arrives Friday.
  • Bicycling much in the news these days in D.C., with the National Triathlon having taken place lately, and front-page Post discussions about how bikes and cars can, should, and must share the road.  One of the triathletes rode a D.C. Bikeshare bike for that part of his race.  So dorky it’s hip.   And speaking of Bikeshare, they’re into Arlington, Alexandria, and who knows what’s next?  I can tell you that every night I go in to teach at Georgetown, the Bikeshare rack at 37th and O is empty (or almost) by 7:00 p.m., and they’ve enlarged lately.
  • The flowers on the W&OD are especially vivid right now, with one almost fluorescent purple kind, and two very different sizes of what I call “Yellow Daisies.”  Only a couple of early Wooly Bears so far, and nary a Monarch butterfly to be seen.  That’s disquieting.
  • They worked on the W&OD west of Vienna for 3 months; riders got it back mid-July. Now they’re back on the same stretch, ready to repave and line the part that the machines were all over during the earlier construction.  Absolutely necessary too, since the heavy equipment destroyed the surface of the pavement.  I just hope they don’t take the current work into mid-December.  But it should not take that long.
  • Too many parents do not tell their kids what “on the left” means before they take them out on the Trail.  I always assume the kid will go the wrong way, and often it’s safer not to warn them but just ride by, fully under control of course.  And yesterday I passed a proud mom teaching her kiddy how to ride a 2-wheeler out there.  I was feeling so good I didn’t even yell at her, though she deserved it.
  • About a month after returning from my last summer trip, I’m just now feeling strong enough to “attack” short stretches where more power is needed rather than downshifting and slowing up.  Bring on October!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2012.

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