My plans to take a 125 mile cycle ride were altered at the hands of Murphy yesterday. I had made it 35 miles up the highway when I stopped to check my gear and seek shelter from some light rain.
I’ve put on over 2,400 miles on this bike since last August. I consider myself very lucky that in all of those miles I’ve only had one flat tire and no mechanical problems. On that occasion, I was able to replace the tube and be back pedaling that time within 10 minutes.
Today, I looked down and saw that 1/2 of my left pedal had broken off. One of my screws designed to secure the rear rack to the frame had also decided to leave my company. I replaced the screw with one not being used from another part of the frame. During this repair, my rear tire went flat. No problem, I thought, I have all the items needed to repair it. I was so proud of myself to have the backup systems and knew I could overcome this minor setback. I pulled the tire and tube and found the tire free of any sharp objects that may puncture the new tube. I grabbed my tire pump and discovered that the small tip that connects to the tube valve had unthreaded and also migrated to parts unknown.
Adapt, Improvise, Overcome! No problem, I have a back up system CO2 cartridge tire filling system. I was concerned it would not have enough air to completely fill the tube but at least it could get me down the road to civilization. I found that the device was defective and had lost its air pressure. Damn you Murphy!
I was many miles into the National Forest on the Mountain Loop Highway and there was not very much traffic on this drizzly Friday. Normally this lack of traffic would be a good thing for cycling but not when you are reliant on someone for help. As with most of my mountain rides, there was no cellular telephone service here. I prepared for the 10 mile walk back to the Verlot Ranger Station. I was in the process of putting my front wheel on the rear so it would be easier to walk my bike and gear down the road.
Could it be? A vehicle coming down the mountain? Hell yeah! I flagged down the only vehicle I had seen in the last 30 minutes. It was a county truck headed back towards Granite Falls. I left out the names of my rescuers as they told me it is against policy to pick up hitchhikers. They dropped me off at a business that had an air hose 20 miles down the road. After pumping up the tire, I was again rolling down the road. I rode the 17 miles back to my truck in Everett without mishap.
I unloaded my bike when I was back in Mukilteo and saw that my rear tire was flat again. I just shook my head and chuckled to myself. I spent the rest of the evening being very cautious for fear Murphy would continue his mischief. Now I have woken to a new and sunny day. After dropping my bike off at the shop for a complete overhaul, I will find some kind of non-cycling way to enjoy this day.
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