Things are stopping

  • My bike is stopping. On the way to the bike shop in Old Town, a pick up truck tried to go around a car at an intersection. I was on the right hand side of the pick up. I grabbed my brakes and they kinda sorta stopped me. In time. I knocked on the rear fender of the pick up. How about it buddy? Try not to kill me. His windows were open. He didn’t get all road ragey. I think he knew he messed up.
  • A few minutes later I’m inside Conte’s which opened up at the corner of King and Henry streets a year or two ago. The location was once the site of The Bed Store. The Bed Store sold platform beds that broke down into a neat, shipable size. You could put the entire thing and a foam mattress in a VW Golf. I know because that’s how I got it home. My daughter still uses the bed 36 years later. I would gladly buy another but no one knows what happened to the rights to the design after the store closed. I imagine the owner, a stylish woman with white hair, shuffled off this mortal coil long ago.
  • I intended only to buy some brake pads but the folks at Conte’s offered to install them while I waited. I know that compact V-brakes are a pain to work on so I let Bob the mechanic go to work. During my bike tour, three different mechanics adjusted my brakes. It wasn’t until the tour was nearly over, in Carson City, Nevada that someone finally got then working properly. It took Bob a while. The pads went on the front. Bob went back and forth and back and forth methodically tweaking the calipers, the pads, the cable tension. (This would have taken me two or three times as long.) Then he repeated the process on the rear only to find that the cable kept hanging up. He tried to save the cable with lube and fine grit sandpaper (to clear off rust) but eventually threw on a new one. When he was done with the brakes he checked the clearance between the rims and the pads. The back wheel had a teeny wobble. Out came a spoke wrench. Twist one spoke this way, another spoke that way. And Voila! The Mule stops!
  • I went for a 25 mile ride afterward. The brake pull was perfect. The stopping power was the best it’s been in months. And there was no squealing. Bob done good.
  • I rode to the Air Force Memorial in Arlington. It’s three swooping towers of shiny metal, curving skyward. It’s pretty hard to get all three in one picture when you’re standing directly beneath them.IMG_3396
  • After leaving the memorial, I rode to the Washington Boulevard bike trail. It’s a nice trail. Too bad it leads to nothing. IMG_3399
  • About a half mile away, a bike trail runs parallel to US 50, the highway on the bridge in the picture above. Of course, this trail stops without warning too. I often imagine how pissed off drivers would be if the roads they were using just stopped at random places like this. (An example would be I-64 in West Virginia in the 1980s. It just stopped in the middle of nowhere – actually at a place called Sam Black Church. Then, one day while we were driving to the family reunion, it didn’t.)
  • Unlike my brakes, my body was doing not so good. Yesterday’s 51-miler wore me out. I had intended to ride 40 miles today but decided to throw in the towel at 31.
  • And since we’re on the subject of stopping, my back and left leg pain is all but gone, at least as far as everyday activities are concerned. I keep expecting it to come back and lay me out, but it hasn’t happened.

2 thoughts on “Things are stopping

  1. Actually, the Washington Blvd Bike Trail leads to another neighborhood trail, on the north side of Route 50. Go under the bridge in your picture, turn left at the service road (staying on the path), and instead of continuing straight along the Rt 50 bike path, take a right off the path (there’s a crosswalk; cars generally stop for me), through the park, onto this path. It terminates at another park, at Fillmore.

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