Thursday, September 02, 2004


Preparations, Theory and Lessons

I was mountain biking with a friend last week. It was our second ride together; he used to race mountain bikes and I just like riding up where it's quiet and far from cars. On our first ride each of us had complete repair kits: two pumps, two tubes, etc. This time I was in "Fatburner Special" mode, which means I was wearing clothes and had a water bottle. I thought Chad had the repair kit.

In upward of 100 rides in the mountains I've only had four problems. Once the derailer got hung up in the spokes, but I was at the top of the hill and going home. When I got to the flat there was a strong wind behind me, so I spread the sides of my jacket and sailed home. The next problem was all the pawls in the freewheel breaking, so I ended up with a bidirectional freewheel. I walked up the hills, rolled down and repeat. I was with a friend. We had a lot of fun. You take more chances when you can't just power your way out of a hole. The next problem was when my hub broke in half, but it was held together by the axle and I rode home, grinding. And then my rear tire blew up, but it was very old and I was going downhill on a hot day. I rode home on the flat tire; it was already destroyed. So, with a decent bicycle, reasonably well maintained, the chance of walking home is so slight that I travel light. And leave early in the morning so I have time to walk.

So, there we are, climbing out of Trippet Ranch on our way around the loop. We're about as far from home as we can be, and my friend's tire blows up. Sidewall split, spontaneous. It's a very discouraging sound.

He got off, found the problem and started getting the repair items out of his pack. Tube, check. Dollar bill, to bridge the sidewall gap, check. Tire tools, check. Compressed CO2, check.
"I think I left the cartridge interface with my road kit."
We have no way to get the CO2 into the tire. We're stopped.
"There's a garage down at Trippet. Maybe they'll have a compressor."

We ride down the hill to the garage. The man who's there says all the maintenance people are out, working in other areas.

What do we do? I can't loan my friend my back wheel because his bike uses rim brakes and mine has disks, and therefore the rim sidewall isn't designed for braking. He can't ride my bike because I have platform pedals and he has cleated shoes. He didn't bring his cell phone and I don't have one.

I ended up riding home and driving his truck back to Trippet. This gave me time to think.

It's an unusual occurrence. His tires weren't that old, and seemed to be in good condition. What has happened is that he now has at least two hours with nothing to do. Normally he's very busy; the phone rings, all kinds of technical issues he has to solve for the church, family needs.

It takes me an hour and a half to ride home, and about two-thirds of the way I bonk. Run out of fuel. This usually doesn't happen because I start early, right after breakfast, and so run out just about at the time I get home. This time I was two and a half hours later starting the ride, and the tank just ran empty. Getting up the last hill was a problem, and then I ate everything I could find when I got home.

At least that gave me time to pray for God's help with the drive. I don't like driving and tend to just want to get it over with, so I become impatient.

The drive there was uneventful. We got stuck in some traffic coming home and bailed off PCH on a back street.
"Well, it used to go through." We have to enter the parking lot.
"It's an adventure, Larry! My wife has come to expect this kind of thing."
The light is beginning to dawn in my head. Two rides with him, two problems.

Somehow adventure rides this man's coattails. I promptly went out and bought a spare folding tire and I'm not going on another ride with him unless we have pump, tools, tire, tube and maybe even a tow truck.

Of course, there could be repercussions of my rash act. You never have problems you're prepared for. On our next ride, well, I don't want to think about it. If the simple stuff can't break..

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?