Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy the Day

I'm taking some time off from blogging to work on other projects. I'm excited about them, but since I find that I have just a little too much fun blogging to set aside enough time for them, it's on pause for now. So, off I go, on yet another journey of sorts. Happy the day when we begin new journeys. Or retrace previous ones, for that matter. I believe I'll be back here eventually. Thank you for reading, and ride happy on your own journeys.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

You Will Go Far

Distance has potential. New River trail.

Since I opted for a longer than normal ride out to the west side, I decided the road bike needed some usage. I threw an extra spare tube into the bag just in case. Good thing, too.

Saturday's machine, sunlight glinting off crankset incidental

I was up for a longer ride. After about ten miles I worked out the kinks, and started to feel very connected and strong. That's actually a poor description of the melting into the bike flying across the pavement that I felt, but words are sometimes insufficient to the feeling. While I sometimes eschew the road bike for more utility-oriented, or less race-oriented setups, when I just want to ride far and with some speed, lightweight carbon, aluminum, and steel which respond promptly and lively to power input to the pedals is quite enjoyable. And it's pretty easy to repair a flat tire on it, too.

I picked up a thorn in my front tire somewhere around mile 20. It was medium-sized, not a goathead, but stiff and sharp, and punched a clean hole straight through tire and tube which flatted quickly. I found a shady spot to put in the new tube. As I was sitting on a comfortable bench with the wheel across my lap, searching for the puncture source, a little girl of perhaps three or four years old, along with her parent or guardian, wondered up.

"What are you doing?" she asked me.

"Oh, hi there. Fixing my flat tire."

"What's this?" she boldly asked, pointing.

"That's my frame pump."

"Can I try it?"

"Sure!" she picked it up, and turned it around, considering how to try it. She then put one end on the ground, and began pumping it. 

"What's it for?"

"For putting air back into my tire, once I get the new tube in."

"Can I help?"

"Well, I don't know, right now I'm trying to find the hole in the old tube so I can remove whatever caused the puncture so as not to poke a hole in the new tube."

"That would not be too good. I don't see the hole, though."

"Here, may I? I'll put some air back into the old tube and we'll see if we can hear the hissing."

"You carry that on your bike?" the parent or guardian was asking me. Separated from the bike, it was a little unclear where one would mount a full-sized frame pump. 

"Yeah, it mounts under the top tube, with these ends. There's a pump peg on the head tube, too. It's a lot easier to pump up a high pressure tire with a frame pump."

I found the hole in the tube, and ran my finger along the inside of the tire in the corresponding place. My finger found the thorn the hard way, and a small drop of blood appeared on my fingertip. I didn't notice it at first, though, which resulted in my smearing some blood on the rim.

"Mister, there's some blood on your finger. I can get you a bandaid for your ouchy."


I dug the thorn out of the tire, and mounted the new tube. Around that point, something else caught her interest, perhaps the playground equipment, and she and her guardian wandered off. I took my time finishing the job, made sure the tube was not pinched and the bead fully engaged all the way around. I like to double check these, because it's no fun to put air into a tube just to have it leak or explode because I mounted it wrong. Been there, done that, don't want to repeat.

Canal information sign, near the end of the canal

Linear park. This section includes shade and water stops, along with excellent signage and maps.

As I got back on the bike, I thought about the open curiosity and friendliness the little girl had shown. As she toddled away, full of enthusiasm for whatever was next, and I hope slightly more knowledgeable about bicycles, tires, pumps, thorns, and air, I sent a little prayer or wish in her wake: you will go far, little one, you'll go far.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cyclist's Weekend Out of Office Message

Hello, if you need me for something this weekend, I will be located on my bicycle somewhere in the greater Phoenix metro area, or within the surrounding desert.

My destination will be unknown, or unspecified/other.

My cell phone seems to have developed some sort of mysterious non-functionality which causes it not to ring or buzz while I am on my bike. It's weird. If you call and I don't answer, please leave a message, and I will get back to you on Monday morning, after I am done riding my bicycle all weekend long. The forecast high temperature is around 80 degress F, the skies cloudless, the breezes slight. The bike riding forecast for me is long, extensive, wide-ranging, aimless. My target goal is everywhere which is not here.

Trails which are, trails which shall one day be

If you are a member of my immediate family or a loved one, and you need to reach me this weekend, the best approach is probably to be out there riding with me. If you are a member of my immediate family and/or a loved one, and are out there riding with me, I promise to reply to your inquiry. If you are not out there riding with me, I will reply to your inquiry on Monday morning. In case of urgent need, it may be best to head out to an open part of the desert and begin shouting my name. It's not likely to reach me, given how large the desert is, and how open, but it may make you feel better momentarily, and/or forget whatever it was you wanted, and/or give you time to figure it out on your own. We're talking the whole metro area, 16,573 sq. mi. or roughly the same size as the Netherlands, so you'll be out there yelling into a lot of desert, if you take that route. It's probably better to just be out there riding with me, if you feel the need to contact me may arise. It would turn out much the same, except with less shouting.

Recreate, recreate, recreate. If I say it three times, let it be so. It was a beast of a week. Time to ride it all away. Farewell, beastly week, you are behind me now. 

I'll be out there, somewhere. Let's hope for the best, or even better, make the best, miles and miles of it.