|Near the end of the day--getting close to 9 p.m. Audrey rides off into the sunset east along Boyson Road.|
I had a modest goal Tuesday. Since it wasn't going to rain, I was going to ride.
But first I had several other things to do. Primarily, I had to go to the bike shop, purchase some supplies and do some bike repair. My new bike had a flat back tyre, and the brake shoes on Francis were losing their grip.
I thought of driving to the bike shop, but my mind was changed when I stepped outside late in the morning. It was just too pretty a day. So I hopped on Francis and cycled over.
I purchased two new inner tubes for Argent—if I decide on that name for the new bike. (What do you think? Some have suggested “Silver” as the name, and I’m playing with that theme.) And brake shoes for Francis.
|What I bought today. Don't mix left and right shoes, but which is which? Below: yeah, the old shoes were worn.|
It was getting to be past 11 a.m. by the time I got home, so I naturally had lunch. Then, it was bike maintenance time.
I figured changing brake shoes, even though I had never done it before, would be the easy job, so I did it first. I hope I did it right—the brake shoe package had a dire warning that “shoes are left and right, do not mix,” but the shoes themselves not only seemed identical, they were not marked with a handy “L” or “R” or any other directional marking. Still, once I had the new shoes on and the brake tightened, the efficiency of braking was vastly improved. So far, so good.
Next, the tubes. I had not changed road tyre tubes before, and asked the guy at the bike shop if there was a trick to it. “Not if you've changed tubes on other bikes,” he said. Well, he was mostly right—it might have been good to note how the valves work differently, but I have put air in Presca valves before. I was expecting it to be much more difficult than hybrid or mountain tyres, and it was a bit more of an ordeal, but not as bad as I expected.
The biggest hitch, which is true of any bike tyre, was getting the tyre back on the wheel rim after changing tubes. There may have been some speaking of tongues involved, if there is a language of only 4-letter words. Still, I got the bike put back together.
I wanted to do it myself primarily because I figured if I’m going to own a road bike, I need to know how to fix a flat.
|Argent parked north of Lafayette as I check Milkweed in the ditch. No caterpillars, but no flat tyre, either.|
It was getting close to 2 p.m. by the time I was ready to leave home, but off I went. Given the complexity of going south, I decided to head north on the Cedar River Trail. It was a great afternoon for biking—warm but not hot, a mix of sun and a few high clouds. All went well. I rode to Center Point and back, a ride of about 30 miles. I also did the hill route, so call it at least 33 miles.
|I might be underestimating the miles for Tuesday. I had to backtrack a bit--route under Council Street closed by high waters of Dry Creek.|
I got home at about 6 p.m. And the front door was locked. My wife, I figured, was out on a walk. So I opened the house and put my bike away—but her bike was missing. “Someone broke into the house, locked the door and stole your bike,” I texted her. She explained she was meeting the grandkids at Indian Creek School playground, and invited me to cycle over.
Really. I was already up to about 35 miles on the day (morning ride to bike shop, long afternoon ride) and I was tired. I’m not used to the new bike yet. I discovered that the different position and angle means my legs get much more tired quickly on the new bike. It’s ironic—Argent is a very, very light bike compared to Francis, and clearly built more for speed and distance, so it’s the right choice for RAGBRAI, but I’m a way better biker on Francis right now. Not faster—however. I think one reason I was extraordinarily tired was that on Argent I’m invited by the design to zoom along. Other bikers still pass me, but I can tell, even sans computer, that I’m travelling faster on the new bike.
Anyway, I decided to tough it out. I got Francis out and put the toddler seat in the front basket, just in case, and cycled off to meet my wife. She’s been doing a lot of biking herself this summer—she was off finding a new bike route to Lowe Park that doesn't involve 10th Street or Alburnett Road. Anyway, we met at the corner of 10th Street and 29th Avenue in Marion, and headed east to meet Katy and her kids. We encountered them a few blocks east of the school, and turned around to ride with them to the playground.
|Audrey crosses 10th Street in Marion to meet me. Below, we've met Katy and the kids and are on our way to the playground.|
It was a nice, low-key visit. Afterwards, we biked over to a nearby ice cream shop, and Katy bought a round of cones.
And I did need the toddler seat. Amelia claimed it.
We then rode over to Katy’s house with her and the kids. It was 8:30 and getting a bit dim by the time we headed home.
With all of that, I’m pretty sure I topped 50 miles. It wasn't exactly a RAGBRAI day, but close. I was tired a bit sore. Still, it was a good RAGBRAI training day.
|OK, maybe bike maintenance would have been quicker if rose and lilies in my front garden didn't distract me ...|