Here, we go! First bike commute of the season!
I was thinking about biking to work all Thursday as the weather had taken a marvelous turn for the better. Should I wear shorts? It’s going to be warm in the afternoon, but the mornings are still cool. Maybe I’ll stick with long pants. Should I make sure my bike is ready to go? Nah. It’s late and, besides, I rode it the other day and everything seems fine, although I should probably take a look at the brakes sometime soon; they feel a bit weak. Yes, I will ride my bike on Friday!
Friday morning. I’m a bit sore from yoga the day before, but I’m still riding. I’m excited. I was pacing around the house a bit the night before as I was feeling eager to get out and about on my bike. I dropped the kids off at the day home, and now I have to get ready to go. It’s still a bit cool, but I think I will wear my shorts.
So, it looks like my shorts don’t fit anymore. That’s typical. Pants it is; just have to make sure I roll them up so I can keep my pant legs clean and/or look as dorky as possible. As I get my bike from the garage, I begin to notice how cool it is this morning; just as well I’m wearing pants, I suppose. Anyway, I’m off!
As I turn onto 97th Street I’m feeling confident, although I notice that the winter sand hasn’t been cleared along this stretch yet. That’s typical. I’m already starting to feel a layer of grit forming on my body. The first bus to pass me sends a plume of dust into the air that swirls and envelops me. I will definitely need a shower when I get to work. As I head down 97th I’m feeling better and better, but my first challenge it coming up.
The train overpass just north of Yellowhead Trail is a dodgy spot for cycling. The lane gets narrow and there is a storm drain with a large depression surrounding it. I could hop onto the sidewalk, but I opt to stay on the road. As I approach the overpass I am plunged into a moment of darkness. The lane narrows and I have fast travelling traffic beside me, squeezing me towards the storm drain. That’s typical. I approach the drain and prepare myself for the jarring bump and the split-second worry about losing control. I enter the depression and exit with a familiar bump, but accompanied by a hissing sound and a continuous rumble from the rear of my bike.
That is not typical.
I quickly pull off onto the sidewalk and examine the damage. My rear tire has blown completely. The treads look fine, which means the inner tube has blown, and I am now faced with a long walk into downtown. As a briskly stroll along 97th, my limping bicycle beside me, I am strangely calm. Those that know me know that this is not typical, as I would usually be swearing a blue streak; but today I am simply focused on getting to work on time. Good thing I left home early. I come up on 120th Avenue where the cops usually set up to catch motorists in the bus lane. In fact, here’s another one caught just now. I walk past the constable and nod a good morning.
“Blow a tire?”
As I cross 118th Avenue I have a flashback to a couple of years ago when, during my first commute of the season, I lost my saddle due to a snapped bolt. Maybe first ride mishaps are typical as well. I continue on and reach work on time, but sporting a nasty rash.
Fortunately, I was able to purchase a new tube over lunch and install it on my bike.
How was your first commute of the season? My ride home was much better, thanks.