The 2013 Bike Commuting Century

After yesterday’s chain problems, I switch over to The Mule, my much neglected Specialized Sequioa steel touring bike. The difference between riding it and Big Nellie, my Tour Easy long wheel base recumbent, was incredible.  I felt like I was somehow riding a big rock with handlebars. Initially, my legs were moving me along at a much faster than normal pace, probably the result of engaging leg muscles that have been in hibernation for months. After about five miles, my pace slowed as my pathetic legs started to wimp out. I was back to my normal 12 miles per hour, my trance speed. Once I lock into the 12 mph groove, I feel like I could ride to Kansas without stopping. I don’t breathe hard. I don’t remember the ride. I arrive and have one of those “how did I get here moments”.

Nothing much happened on the ride in. I saw the Three Step Runner and the Trash Walker, two of my regulars, but nobody else. This is the norm for days when I leave work early, like today when I was headed for Friday Coffee Club.

The weather was splendid so it’s not at all surprising that attendance at Swings House of Java was high. I handed over my third bag of roma tomatoes to Kirstin, who will eat them tonight after killing a deer in Rock Creek Park to satisfy her paleo diet needs. (She uses humane methods: she runs them to death.)

I am the anti-Paleo person. I eat fritters or what I call sugar encrusted pastry bombs and wash them down with coffee. What better way to end the work week than a caffeine-buzzed insulin spike.

I asked Felkerino who does much of his own bike maintenance (in his dining room, no less) about my chain problem. He is usually pretty thrifty so I was expecting him to tell me some clever way to fix the chain and ride it forever, but he quickly advised me to replace the chain. So my plan is to spend some time tomorrow practicing chain link replacements on it which should get me another couple of weeks worth of use out of it. (And possibly a sheepish trip to my local bike store to have them fix my fruits of my mechanical ineptitude.)  Near the end of August, I will take it in to my not-so-local recumbent store for some major repairs (new chain, new chainrings, new cassette, new cables, etc.)

The ride home was a slog. My body and The Mule were not in general agreement as to proper propulsion mechanics. And my butt hurt.  I think it’s time to buy a new saddle. My Brooks Champion Flyer is starting to look like a sling. Normally, I’d tighten the leather up using the adjustment screw, but it’s been broken for a couple of years.

I arrived at Casa Rootchopper to throngs of cheering fans. They were celebrating my 100th bike commute of 2013.. A bike commuting century!  They ran alongside me as I made my way up the street to my house shouting “Allez! Allez!” and patting my back.

Okay, the part about the 100th bike commute is true, but I was greeted at home by the cat that eats the birds off my bird feeder. The cat was running fast around my house. He had been flushed out from under my daughter’s car by my neighbor’s dog Amy who was standing on my front lawn with what looked like a “Heh, heh, heh” snicker on her face. I don’t think she was aware of the neighborhood cycling history that was being made.

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