Monday, September 28, 2009

Pump Action

My trusty Wrench Force pump died recently. We will now have a moment of silence. (Of course, this is a blog, so unless you’re reading aloud, you’re already silent, so never mind.)

Of course, I had that pump for six years, and it certainly pumped up a lot of tires, so I shouldn’t complain.

I shouldn’t complain, but I still do, because, in expiring, the pump left my rear tire completely deflated.

A few days later I managed to get a new pump from a large chain department store that is famous primarily for being a large chain department store. They only had one pump that could be of any use to me – it had an air gauge and an adapter that would make it work on a presta valve, so I got it.

Here is how it works: first, you take the adapter and you screw it into the hole where the valve goes, making sure it’s a nice tight fit. Then you fit the nozzle over the valve on your tire and lock it into place. Then you start pumping, at which point that nozzle flies off of the tire leaving the adapter attached to your valve.

Repeat until you are certain that the pump is going to do this every time and your tire is completely defalted.

After you’ve repeated this enough times to realize that this is, in fact, all that this particular pump does, you take it back to large chain department store and get your money back.
This is very useful as an exercise in frustration, but when it comes to going for a ride, it isn’t much help.

After this experience, I waited until I could go to the bike shop and get a good pump.

Me on Friday as I watch sheets of rain falling outside the window: “If I get a pump today, I’m going for a ride tomorrow morning whether it rains or not!”

Me on Saturday morning: “Aw, man, it’s supposed to rain this morning!”

I am nothing if not inconsistent.

But, sitting up before sunrise, I decided to go for a ride anyway. I just made sure my cell phone was in a plastic bag and hit the road.

It was so windy I kept my eyes peeled for Dorothy. I didn’t see her or her little dog, too, flying past, but I did see a couple of friends go by in the opposite direction. (Just to make things clear, they were riding bikes, not being blown by the wind). I thought for a moment about turning around and joining them, but I already had a route mapped out in my head and decided to stick with it.

Since I set out just after sunrise (which isn’t as early as it sounds this time of year) I didn’t see many people on the road other than joggers and cyclists. It was peaceful. Or, it would have been peaceful if I hadn’t decided to go as hard as I could go for the whole ride.

There were some odd little moments. There usually are.

I passed through some cigarette smoke when there were no cars on the road and no people visible at all. I still don’t know where it came from.

I passed a field full of dead corn, the stalks withered and brown with white ears hanging from them. I’m sure there was a good reason for letting it die in the field, but I don’t know what it was.

I had a moment when I recalled what Jörg said about the difference between riding with the guys and riding with the ladies. The ladies notice all the scenery and the guys don’t. I don’t know what made me think of that, as I wasn’t noticing the scenery at the time.

The wind was pretty much a misery, but there isn’t much you can do about that except for keep pushing your way into it and suffer, and I did both of those things, but it was great to be on the bike even so.

As I neared home, I passed the same two riders I had passed on my way out (Hey, Scott!) and then the wind kicked up and I was not aware of much aside from the pain of trying to keep my pace up despite the wind. Who would have guessed that a few air molecules could have so much effect. I mean, they’re so light, right?

As I got back into my subdivision, I passed an elderly lady riding a bike with a basket on the front and what appeared to be a blanket in the basket. I have no idea where she was headed or what the blanket was for.

I made it back home to find that everyone was still asleep and my legs were toast.

It was a great ride, though. Here's hoping I get the next one soon.

See you on the road.

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