A Simple Twist of Fate
Actually, it was a flat rear tire on my bike that cut my ride short on what was easily the nicest day so far this year. Cloudless sky, ample sunshine, warm temperatures, no wind. Everything that calls me out to cycle. But when I was ready to head out, my bike was not. I tend not to pay much attention to my bike other than to lubricate the chain and derailleur periodically and check the tire pressure. I topped off the air in the past few weeks so I didn't think to check the tire until I began rolling the bike out the door. I noticed the lack of air pretty quickly.
Fortunately, the fine afternoon that would have been so nice for riding was also good for changing the tube on the patio, an exercise that left me seriously uncertain how I would manage the task on the trail, if needed. I cannot recall the last flat that I dealt with and my skills were considerably rusty. My emergency tube is iffy; I think it pre-dates the current tire and isn't quite the right size. The tube I removed is much heavier duty and slimmer. The leak is on the valve stem and not repairable. I made the spare it work and got out for a shortened ride but lost about half the air pressure in during a 90 minute ride.
Changing the tube brought me face to face with the grunge and gunk in my cassette,derailleur and front sprockets. After two winters in the northwest all are due for some serious cleaning. I've been looking for a do-it-yourself car wash with a pressurized hose but haven't seen one in any of the places around Olympia that I frequent. So I'll probably take the bike in to the neighborhood shop for a full-bore cleaning and tune up.
The day was warm enough to ride without a windbreaker--60 degrees, very pleasant. LOTS of people on the trails. All ages in a variety of combinations: on bicycle, on foot, one guy poling along on a skateboard, families towing kids, families with kids on bikes. Just a fine day to enjoy being outside.
Spring is coming early this year. Trees blossoming, flowers blooming, buds appearing on trees. The freeze people feared might be on the heels of the warm weather we had earlier is fast running out of time. We still get some below freezing temperatures some nights but mostly not. Olympia may have dodged anything like a real winter this year.
On the way home I looped through downtown to pick up a burrito at the California Taco Truck which has the best burrito in that I've found in Olympia. The ride may have been shorter than planned but the day was every bit as good as hoped for.