Thursday, November 03, 2005


So, what's the worst 4-letter word you could possibly say to a cyclist? Well, let's just say it blows George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words away.

Yeah, the F word... man, I'm having a hard time even typing it. If you're the sensitive type, I strongly recommend you don't look. Ugh. Keep the kids away, this is an NC-17 rated topic.

You know it's gonna be a suck night when you come out the door from a long day of work and see this noise right here. I go to unlock the bike from the rack, only to discover that front tyre was flatter than our gal Olive Oyl. And I've got no one but myself to blame for the ensuing comedy.

A little background information is probably in order here. I haven't owned a mountain bike in going on 3 years. When my good friend Jeff Wardell did most of the work building the SS, he bro'd me a couple of his old 26" tubes, with the caveat that I definitely shouldn't trust them - he's the kinda guy who patches tubes until there's more patch than tube. In the 2 weeks since the Birth Of Singlespeed, have I managed to drag my sorry arse to the bike shop to do anything about this? Nah, not me. In my typical 'I'll-ignore-it-until-it-presents-a-crisis" fashion, I do just that.

Wednesday night, it presents a crisis. It slowly dawns on me that I'm not terribly well equipped for this particular mishap, because the not less than three spare tubes I find roaming round the dank recesses of my Chrome Metropolis, are all 700x23c (for road tyres), on top of which I don't have a pump. Roadie that I am, I usually just carry a CO2 inflator kit and a tube, and go on with my bad self.

Did I mention how difficult it is to patch a tube when you don't have a pump to check where the hole is? To quote the Anonymous Chatroom Wanker: "ima moreon".

So I mess around trying to find the leak the old-fashioned way, by blowing up the tube like a balloon. This takes longer than it should and tastes nasty. Frustrated and freezing, I surmise that it's a faulty patch, remove the old patch, repair it, wait for the glue to dry, reach into my handy dandy trusty seatbag... and discover that one of my CO2 cartridges has been used. Eh, no worries, I'm a safety gal and always carry 2. I root around, find the second (and last remaining) cartridge, and air up the tyre.

Should be golden right? Not. As I'm riding along, I realise the tyre is losing pressure again. Language ensues. I stop, have a think, and realise I'm screwed. It's late (18.15 or thereabouts), cold, dark, and Miss Never-Carries-Cash hasn't any bus fare. Now what? Nothing for it but to alternately ride and walk the flat the 4.7 miles home to the condo. Fortunately it's almost all paved, and the paving is in good trim. So there I go, whumpita-whumpita-whumpita, all the way home.

Oh and for the merely curious: upon thorough review of the situation, it turns out a spare tube wouldn't have helped, and in fact would only have offered more opportunity for creative invective. The culprit was a sketchy rim strip; the tube was getting cut at the valve stem... so a handy roll of electrical tape was the only solution.

Fortuitously, I have four bikes. And like any slacker cyclist, when one's out of service for any reason, even pure pig laziness like a flat tyre, I merely recruit a backup. In this case, dear old George, my 'crossie, gets roped back into commuter duty. (yes Marty, I also anthropomorphise my bicycles... you're not weird... well, okay yea, you're weird, but at least you have weird company)...

And now for something completely different. Not only has the weather been incredible these days, but we've had killer sunrises. This morning I awoke at my usual Oh Dark Thirty hour, to find the interior of the condo awash in crimson light. I hucked on whatever dirty laundry I found lying on the floor, and bailed out the door to shoot these:

I swear on my life both photos are unretouched. This is exactly what it looked like. I don't have Photoshop at work anyhow.

The good news is the skies have been spectacular, all day long. The bad news is with the combo of warm temperatures and clouds like these in spring and autumn... you get Chinooks; a.k.a. the Boulder Straight Line Hurricane. Today, it's been merely sprightly, meaning 15-20 mph sustained, with gusts to 35-40. A playful wind, making for a great resistance workout. I got passed by a friggin' Yugo-sized tumbleweed on Airport Boulevard.

Old Glory outside my office, getting a workout.

This thing is a Boulder icon. (photo cred here)

So what, you ask, was I doing riding a bicycle to work, when I have a brand new, perfectly functional, three-week-old Subaru Legacy? Answer: I'm a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Hey life's an adventure, and where else could I have made the acquaintance of a baby sand storm and a big-arse tree branch, both up close and personal like. Fortunately Marty hooked me up with a long-peaked cycling cap, which kept the worst of the sand out of my eyes, tho not my nose and mouth. The messenger bag and helmet took the brunt of the tree branch, so that was merely startling and somewhat amusing.

Marty apparently got caught in a dust devil somewhere in central Boulder, whilst jabbering to me on her mobile. The hilarity that ensued was well worth any dust in the contact lenses.

I'm starving, and crunching on random grit isn't cutting it anymore, so I'm off to lunch, kids.

Last shot is merely a reprise from Tuesday, cos it's my blog, and I can post what I like:




Blogger Marty said...

Talk about stupendous syncronicity! We both used a "And now for something completely different" reference in our blogs today. Weird. It must be the wind.

5:53 PM  

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