Friday, September 9, 2011

So Ain't That Tacky?

It was a beautiful day in Southwest Florida, sunny and bright, but very humid.

I started my bike ride as I normally do, parking my car, getting two 20-ounce bottles of water attached to my bike, one in a water holder, one attached to a crossbar with a bungee cord. Camera (not my cell phone camera) hanging from my handlebar, I started. I hoped to get some better shots of my newfound friend, the alligator, that I spotted yesterday.

I was met with headwinds from the South, but they were worse from the West. So, since my routes require both directions, I took the longer courses South and the shorter courses to the West, thinking at the time how easy it would be returning North and East.

I felt rather secure since I just got a new tire and tube for the front wheel last week, and the tube has a device to inhibit flats ($9.95).

Mile one was nothing remarkable. Mile two, I anticipated where I would be when the odometer hit mile two. Between miles two and three I stopped when I heard "Emmy," a huge German shepherd, barking as she emerged from the garage of her home.

I stopped, put my kickstand down and proceeded  give Emmy her expected pat on the back, butt and head as she sloppily kissed me on the face. She's one of the few friendly dogs that I meet from time to time in the course of my rides. After a few pats for good measure, I pointed to her lawn and told her to "go home now." She complied, stopping for a moment to squat and pee on her way back to the garage.

I finished miles four and five without incident.

As I was about halfway into mile six, in a cul-de-sac that I often ride around, trying to accumulate mileage and avoid headwinds, I suddenly heard a hiss. Looking first to my left, then my right, fully anticipating seeing a snake somewhere in that circle and seeing none, I stopped.

The hissing continued. I looked down at my front tire and saw a rather good-sized "tack" (for lack of a better word) on the outside of my front tire.

Instinctively I pulled it out and the hissing became more pronounced. I quickly shoved it back in to avoid more air loss as I tried to evaluate how far I was from my car. I thought it might be about two miles. 

I took the fastest possible route back in the direction of my car, thankfully having to head only North and East, without headwinds. It was roughly 1.65 miles back to the car, and by the time I got there, I was pushing the bike under a now-baking sun with no sign of the breezes that I encountered while on the bike.

So, between riding and walking, I had to settle for just short of eight miles today.

I know how to ride a bike, stop a bike, park a bike, but I haven't a clue how to change a tube on a bike. So, tomorrow will begin with a trip to the local bike store for a new tube (unless they can patch it). Then I anticipate a long bike ride as I attempt to make up for today's "lost" miles as well as my goal mileage for tomorrow.

Isn't life marvelous? Imagine what it would be without all its diversions. Like maybe heaven!

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