It was 70 degrees here yesterday. Tonight we are under a winter storm warning. The weather gods have been drinking.
I took off on The Mule today to get some tubes from my local bike shop. This would be the Spokes Etc. store at Belle View Shopping Center. They are a pretty good resource for bike commuters. They do small repairs while you wait. When I had only one bike, I abused this service. They never complained.
They give a discount if you buy three tubes so I bought 2 for The Mule and one for Little Nellie.
I rode back home and stopped off at Sherwood Gourmet on the way. They make a sammich called Gary’s Lunchbox that I am addicted to. When I got home I mainlined it.
After lunch, I went out to the shed to do some maintenance on my bikes. The rear tire on The Mule has had a slow leak for over a week. I can’t find the leak so it either has a bad valve or the rubber has become permeable. I pulled my old spare tube, the one that I had been carrying around for months, out of my saddle bag. It had an extra long valve that had come apart. It’s a good thing that I didn’t get a flat during my commutes or I’d have been stranded.
My tire is a Schwalbe Marathon which are notoriously hard to get on and off the rim. I think I have mastered the technique though. It went off and on without a fuss. The wheel didn’t want to go back on the bike however. After a few minutes of wrestling with the bike, I got it all straightened out. The Mule was nearly ready for action.
While at the bike shop, I asked the mechanic to check my chain for wear. He said it was worn and should be replaced. He also recommended replacing the cassette (the gears in the rear of the bike). I figure if the bike still shifts okay and I have to replace both chain and cassette anyway, I might as well keep the chain on the bike until the shifting deteriorates, then replace the chain and cassette.
I oiled the pulleys and cleaned and lubed the chains on both The Mule and Little Nellie. The chains were kind of gunked up from all the sand on the sides of the roads. When I was done, both chains spun over the gears like buttah.
Now I wait until my third and hopefully final wovel-fest. I am sick of shoveling snow.
On the medical front, I have had to stop taking Vitamin I in advance of finger surgery in a couple of weeks. The stiffness in my lower back came back as soon as the medicine wore off, as did the pain in my hips and left knee. Oddly enough, I am having no pain to speak of while riding my bike. It seems the yoga sessions I do after waking up are doing some good in this regard. I can’t remember when I have felt this comfortable riding a bike.
Errand # 11: Spokes Etc. at Belle View
Category: Bike Shop (#1)
Miles: 4 1/2
Observation: If you don’t patronize your local bike store, it won’t be there when you really need it. Show them some love.
Errand #12: Sherwood Gourmet
Observation: About a half mile from the shop, I was buzzed by a corvette. The driver gave me about a foot of clearance as he passed me. I am pretty sure it was deliberate.