With the end of the semester rapidly approaching, I’m spending more time at the university, putting out fires that flare up regularly as students realize they haven’t done enough to get that A they so covet. And with standard time bringing about darkness earlier than before, I’m not getting in a lot of riding at the moment. So when the weekend comes, I’m ready to saddle up and hit the road.
But this past weekend didn’t pan out the way I expected. On Saturday, I set out to do about 25 miles, just on roads in my immediate area. It’s easy to rack up the miles without straying too far from home, and that would keep me close to get back for the Christmas shopping my wife had planned for the afternoon.
But as I set out Saturday morning, I had a vague sense of unease — that something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it right away, and I headed for the part of my route that would take me farthest from the house.
And then I realized what it was. I had an inordinate amount of flatulence. So much so, that I finally decided to pack it in. I headed back to the house, and attended to the problem. Then I tried to figure out what I had been eating that brought this situation on. Never did figure it out — my diet over the last two days wasn’t really any different than it normally is. Oh, well. Sixteen miles still isn’t that bad — at least I got in an hour’s worth of pedaling. It would get better Sunday, right?
Sunday’s weather was similar to Saturdays: chilly and overcast, but with a dampness in the air that led me to add leg warmers to my wardrobe. There wasn’t much in the way of wind, so that was a plus. The bike seemed to be rolling all right — a little snik-snik-snik noise coming from the wheel, but that wasn’t anything important.
I climbed the nice hill on Blazyk Drive, and hit 32 mph roaring back down. Then, I clattered over the chip seal on nearby Zyle Road for a few miles. Out along State Highway 45, the newly-resurfaced shoulder made for a fast section. On the return leg, I turned into a nice residential neighborhood to take advantage of a smooth asphalt loop where the houses haven’t been built yet.
But the snik-snik-snik was getting louder, and when I glanced down at my rear wheel, my heart sank. It was out of true, and wobbling noticeably. I pulled over to the curb, got off the bike, and spun the wheel. Sure enough, it was still clearing the brake pads, but it wasn’t good. I put my spread fingers across the spokes, and immediately found a broken one. On further checking, it was the only broken spoke on the wheel, so I thought I could get the bike home if I went directly, and didn’t continue on my planned route.
The homeward-bound trip was made without incident, although I pedaled more slowly than I normally would. Instead of 30 miles plus, that I had planned for the morning, I wound up with 19. Again, not a bad ride, but that was two weekend rides in a row I had to cut short. I need to make up for lost time on the bike, especially in view of my total mileage in November that came in at less than 200.
The bike will spend some time at the mechanic’s this week, and I’ll have it overhauled in addition to the work on the wheel. By the time the really cold weather gets here, I should be ready to roll. I just hope the rain will hold off.