Saturday, September 06, 2008

An Early Morning Education


Saturday morning on the causeway, temps reached 90 that afternoon!

Monday morning...snow! Go figure, it's Utah!
Hi All,
Yes, school is in session, both for kids, and cyclists too. As I am sure I have said before, each and every ride brings some sort of education, or something to look back upon. A lovely sunrise, a new route enjoyed, or a learning experience that will add to my knowledge of bikes and riding.

A nice cycling sunrise...
In this case, last Tuesday brought an educational ride. There are many things I learned in my one-quarter mile ride leaving the Frontrunner station in Salt Lake City in the dark around 6 AM. Yes, I said one quarter of a mile. The remaining 3.5 miles were uneventful, but the first quarter-mile was a bit problematic.

Frontrunner, early in the AM...
I had stuck to my normal routine. Up at 4:30, on the Klein Panzer at 5:10, and on the train at 5:30. A quiet 30 minutes reading my book and I was putting my helmet on and getting the bike out the train’s door to ride to work. I headed out to 200 S. and my turn west towards work. There are freight rail tracks to cross, and I have always gone around some concrete damaged areas that butt up against the seam for the tracks, aligned perfectly with the bike lane. Except this Tuesday morning; for some unknown reason I overlooked the damaged area (a nice way of saying large rectangular HOLE) I wasn’t going very fast, maybe 10-12 mph. I saw the large crack too late and tried to swerve the bike. Bad mistake. I was probably better off slamming the brakes and hit the hole head-on.

This is what I hit... not recommended.
No, I am not hurt, really a poor excuse for a crash. No road rash to brag about, no blood, just a badly bent rim. So after a quick recovery, I wobbled the rest of the way to work. By the end of the day, the tube was flat, a victim of old worn out rim tape, and I was tired and out of patience. I got a ride to the train, then subsequently a lovely 2-mile walk home. This walk gave me new appreciation for riding on two wheels. Want to appreciate your bike? Walk home. Really.
My thanks to my friends at Biker’s Edge for fixing the wheel on short notice, and talking me into nice 1.25-inch new tires. The bike rides smooth and fast on smaller tires, and I am back in business. All I lost was a few hours, and a few bucks. So, here is a list of what I learned about bike-commuting this week:
1. Bike commuting is simple and fun, until something happens.
2. Old tires, tubes, & rim tape WILL fail, at the worst possible time.
3. My Klein/commuter was ill equipped for on road maintenance.
4. Dress shoes are no fun on a 2-mile hike.
5. To not leave my water bottle at work.
6. A nice walk is not necessarily a bad thing.
7. UTA’s ticket kiosks only work about half the time.
8. Some of our local roads really suck.
9. People with pick-up trucks will not pick you up.
10. Riding in the dark is an adventure.

15 of the last 18 days on a bike....

Jim

4 comments:

Queen of the Squirrels said...

See, I'm pretty sure that if I hit that hole I would have stacked it and scraped half the skin off my legs.

Mind you, I'm not very coordinated. Also very jealous of your monday morning snow view >.<

Tom said...

Glad you alright after your misadventure. Its a must to carry a spare tube fix it kit. Commuting is much harder on bikes than most people realize. Its not just a drive through the park.

Poit said...

Bunny Hop!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim,

I'm so glad you weren't hurt! That metal edge looked scary. I can see from the things you learned that there's a lot to bike commuting. I wouldn't have thought of whether or not the shoes I was wearing would be comfortable if I had to walk instead of ride!

On a happier note--beautiful photos! He who is out at dawn gets to see (and photograph) it...

Love,

Nan