30 June 2012

The Second Rule Of Mountain Biking

For the better part of a year now, as I've endured the long process of taking graduate classes to secure the professional credential my new job requires, I've celebrated the completion of each semester's coursework with a freedom-ride [May] [December] once everything's been turned in.  I did so again today.

The penstemons are out this week, which is nice, since it's dry as a bone out there and other than a columbine now and then in a shady pocket, and the occasional geranium, it's not been a good year for wildflowers.  Not at all.

The National Weather Service says we're just a few days away from breaking the all-time record for a period of no precipitation.  That's scary enough.  Watching what's been happening in Colorado this season, and knowing that it could happen to us at any moment, has made this dryspell all the more remarkable and frightening.  How we've dodged the firestorm-bullet this year, I have no idea.  Maybe people are getting smarter.  Wouldn't that be great?

Crashed pretty good while riding solo today; drifted off my line in a corner in the moondust. Wasn't going too fast, since I was on the Rock Lobster.  Nevertheless,  I got a little banged up in the process, and soooper dirty.  Then, after taking inventory of my scrapes, and dusting myself off, about 30 yards later, my front tire went flat.  So I stopped along the trail to replace it with the spare.

But my long-ignored spare, blowing its wispy little breaths against the hairs on my leg as I pumped it up, obviously had a hole it it.  And I didn't have a patch kit.

Over the years, I've rehearsed with my daughter, many times, The First Rule Of Mountain Biking.  What does a mountain biker do when things go wrong? A mountain biker deals with it.

Apparently I'm still practicing at The Second Rule Of Mountain Biking: always carry a patch kit.

Frankly, there's only one good solution to the problem in this scenario ('cause the walking-home solution sucks): ya gotta fix the flat.  But how, with no patch kit and no second spare?
Henceforth on permanent
display in my garage.

Tie a knot in the tube.  Pump it up. Pull on the knot until the sound of escaping air subsides. Reinstall tube, stretching it carefully around the rim.  Pump it up, slowly.  Hope for no exploding sounds.  If it holds, put the wheel back on the bike and then ride like the wind headed for home!

That's pretty much how it went down today.  I'll admit, I got lucky.  Twice, really.  No real harm in the crash.  And my knotted tube?

Got me home.  And it's still holding air, hours later.

13 June 2012

Review: Incase Range Backpack

My review of the Range Backpack by Incase was posted to Commute-By-Bike today and, as happens every time I see my byline online, I find myself compelled to share the love with you, dear Reader.  You're invited to have a look at it if you're similarly inclined, as I am, to making a careful analysis of the features and components of cycling bags, packs, and such.

In keeping with recent trends, today's pack review likewise makes mention of zippers and zipper pulls.

10 June 2012

Columbines are out this week

The top of my ride, the meadow on Upper Brookbank Trail, looked like this today, which is pretty spectacular, if you ask me.

About two minutes after I rose from this spot, I flatted.  Just like that.  No warning: pssssffffttt!  Everything's so dry, I musta missed a rock buried in the moondust and tombstoned it.  Went flat fast.  Put a little wobble in my front wheel, too.  Gotta whap it pretty hard to put a wobble in your wheel.  That's what I always say.

Columbines are out this week, in case you care.  Lupines are trying hard to get started, too.  Tough going for wildflowers in these conditions, I think.

Rode home down Weenies Walk with the wobble after fixing the flat (snake-bit, natch) and, after washing the stinging sunscreen off my face, set the wheel in the stand to get it true again.

Put some music on, to set the mood; wheel truing's got kinda a focused rhythm to it, so music helps.

It may come as no surprise to learn that my iPod's playlist is pretty predictable: Radiohead, Travis, Wilco, Calexico, Neil Young, Killers, Thievery Corp, Interpol, Zero 7... you get the picture.  But there are a few rather girlie gems buried in there, too, just because I like them... Not ashamed to admit that my regular playlist includes some Rosie Thomas, a little Sophie Madeline, and The Bird and the Bee, as well.

Paulina Rubio -- Y Yo Sigo Aqui 
[click to play]
This song, Y Yo Sigo Aqui, came on first as I set about working on my wheel.  It's such a great, fun song! Can't deny it.  It's the only Paulina Rubio song I've got.  But every time it comes up in the shuffle I enjoy it. Makes me smile and (try to) sing along. My daughter totally loves it.  She's seven.  Wants to hear it again and again and again.

Hope you like it, too.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey