There’s something comforting about a fun route ridden regularly, especially on a bike you’ve been riding for over 20 years with a comfy leather saddle that was last changed in the mid-1990’s.
Each twist and turn of the road, every rise and fall of the path and all the cracks and butter smooth sections of gravel and tarmac are known and predictable.
This ride allows a bit of mental space. Of course, there is still weather, traffic and a host of other unknowns.
Today started like the Oregon stereotypical day, a bit wet and blustery. By early afternoon, the skies began to break and the sun came out bright. It was still breezy but only tailwinds, really!
It’s been a while since a mechanical issue ended a ride for me. I’m always reasonably prepared for what is likely to occur on a ride and have the tools and know-how to fix just about anything to get home on my own.
That said, today’s ride ended a bit prematurely for a pretty good reason…I used up the rubber from my rear tire. It started like a seam in the road that kept repeating. The feeling changed to a slight rear wheel wobble, as if a spoke had popped. At that point, the pavement was smooth and my old wheel remained true. Before getting back to the main roadway, I stopped to figure out where all this was coming from.
I saw the frayed belts where it should have been solid rubber, right down the middle of the tread. The exposed belt was visible for 8-10 inches. The tire itself began to distort side to side and looked like a slithering snake rather than the nice straight tread I was expecting.
Only 8 miles to get home, 7 on the main rural arteries…I was not getting home on the gravel like I planned. The thought of a blowout next to 55 mph traffic and only steep drainage ditches for shoulders didn’t thrill me.
I flagged down a service truck from Davis Lock and Key at the intersection to borrow a phone (oops, forgot mine on the charger back home). He asked how far I was going and then offered me and my bike a ride to my door. Wow! He was done working for the day and I was only a few miles out of his way home.
Thanks John. I hope you and your wife enjoy your upcoming retirement. You’ve earned it!