somewhat daily mutterings

/Cycling Worst (Aborted) Commute Ever

Wednesday's bike commuting effort was a mess. The morning was very cold and clammy, and I even got rained on a bit. Also, every time I would stand to pedal, I'd hear a "whonk!" from somewhere below and behind that sounded like an angry goose. No, it wasn't the previous night's Mexican -- I finally determined that my bottom bracket must be turning into mush.

To add to my excitement about bike commuting on this particular day, there was a chance of rain in the afternoon, for my commute home. Of course, when I bike commute "a chance of rain" means a storm is 100% guaranteed. The guarantee held quite well, and I left work on my bike in a hard 45-degree drizzle.

The other guarantee that I can rely on, when commuting in the rain, is that I'll get a flat. Again, (dis)satisfaction was provided in the form of a flat within 300 yards of leaving my building! I almost threw in the towel at that point, but decided to perservere.

Fixing a flat on my fully-loaded commuting bike is a pain. I have fenders, so I have to flip the bike. To flip the bike, I have to remove my commuting pannier, my water bottle(s), my lighting system, etc. Fixing a flat on a wet commuting bike is even more of a pain, because my hands always end up covered in black rubber-dust that makes it look as though I just worked a seam of coal bare-handed.

Anyway, the bike is flipped, I've removed the blessed shard of glass from the tire, and am preparing to put a new tube in. My habit is to pump just a bit of air into a fresh tube to make it a bit easier to handle. So, I grab my frame pump, attach it lightly to the valve, and give it a couple of short bursts. Nothing happens. Thinking there wasn't a good seal, I go to lock the pump head to the valve, and the freaking lever pops off and falls to the ground, along with some random pump head contents. My pump is completely shot. Broken. Kaput. How the hell did this happen?

So here I am with coal-miner's hands, a half-installed tube and no way to pump up the works. There was nothing to do but put the tube in, reassemble my bike, and push the crippled bike back to my building. There, I washed my hands to a dull gray, and headed back out into the rain to push the bike to the bus station. Of course, all this walking around in bike cleats has my plantar fasciitis, which had mostly subsided, coming back with a vengeance.


Posted: Fri Apr 22 11:44:57 -0700 2005

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