I got the bike back from the shop a few days ago, and things are better. Not 100 percent better, but I can shift much smoother than before.
I park my bike in the garage, along the left wall. It’s right next to my car. Apparently, I smacked the derailleur with the car door when I opened it a couple of weeks ago, and it knocked the derailleur off kilter. The bike mechanic pointed it out to me when I picked up the bike, and he said he bent the derailleur back. So now I can shift from the small to the big ring. There’s a little bit of clatter, but I’ve found that if I concentrate on easing up my pedal pressure, I can make a smooth shift with no noise.
I practiced that on Sunday’s ride, because I missed the club ride departure by a few minutes. And since this was an ad hoc ride, separate from the main ride that left an hour earlier, they weren’t going to decide where to go until they all got together. So I would be guessing which way they headed if I decided to try to catch them.
Instead, I set off on my own, with only a vague idea of where I would go. Perhaps I would make a Convict Hill run. I haven’t done any hill work for over a month, and I can tell. Maybe I’d head south and go to Buda on my own. Or maybe I’d head east, and think about a run to Creedmoor.
But the weather didn’t make a long ride particularly palatable. It was 49 or 50 degrees (10C), overcast and damp, but little wind to speak of. Let’s do about an hour and call it a day.
Going east on Davis Lane, there’s been some road construction. The road narrows to two lanes, unmarked, no shoulder, and fairly rough. But they’ve been building a new section of Davis, that would curve to the left a bit, and meet up with the Davis Lane extension where it crosses Brodie. Before, we had to take the little two-lane to Brodie, and then do a left turn followed by a right turn to pick up Davis again.
Well, son of a gun, the work on Davis is finished! It stays a four-lane road with a nice bike lane on each side. I picked up speed as I reached the curve, and enjoyed the smooth surface. I hadn’t planned to keep going east on Davis, but what the heck?
Davis has a nifty hill that that point, and the road reverts to two lanes. On Sunday morning, there’s not much traffic, so I can labor my way up the hill without worrying about blocking cars. Less than a mile farther on, Davis bends to the left again. It’s always been that way, and for some reason, it stops in the middle of a residential area. If you want to continue east, you go straight on another two-lane, make a right angle left turn, then another hard right, and you’re back on Davis again.
Well, that’s fixed, too. Davis now goes through all the way to where we used to take that right turn. Again, it’s wide, with a bike lane. There’s a traffic circle at the end — traffic circles are all the rage here in new subdivisions, even though Americans can’t seem to figure out how to negotiate them — and then we’re back to our familiar old route to the east.
But I turned and started exploring some side streets I’d never been on. This is a newer subdivision, right in the middle of the city. A traffic circle at almost every intersection(!). I rode around here for awhile, then headed my way back west — but on a different collection of streets.
By now, I was adjusted to the temperature and felt comfortable. The rest of the morning ride went much the same. I turned off on a new, previously un-traveled road whenever the mood hit me. Although I was in familiar areas, I was on unfamiliar streets. On a bike, you just see more of your surroundings than if you whiz by in a car, and you cover far more ground than you would if running.
After about two hours of this, I headed home. I’d hoped to hit 30 miles, but Strava says I topped out at 28.4. Still, I had a lot of fun just making it up as I rode along. One of these days, I’ll do it again.
I love the freedom of just being out for a ride and turning down whatever road catches my eye, sounds like a great ride!
I think this time of year is great for exploring new roads just to see where it goes.
I love ad hoc rides! Wind on your back and intuition to guide your path. See what you discover while out exploring.