It started out okay then…

Today’s bike ride was supposed to be a test of the saddle position on The Mule. Before I began, I slid the saddle back a couple of millimeters on its rails. I could tell immediately that I had hit the sweet spot. It felt perfect.

Cause for celebration right?

About a half mile into the ride, I noticed the speed on my bicycle computer was toggling up and down at random. I thought maybe there was some electrical interference from my phone but after several adjustments (e.g., removing my phone from my handlebar bag, removing my keys with its Tile device from the bag, turning off my phone altogether) I realized that my trusty bike computer was kaput.

Making lemonade from lemons, I decided to ride to bike shops in search of a new computer.

I rode to Conte’s bike shop in Old Town but didn’t see anything that floated my boat in their display case. Next I rode up the King Street bike lanes to Spokes Etc. on Quaker Lane. They had a nice one but it only displayed four digits for total trip distance. Since my bike has over 56,200 miles on its odometer, this wouldn’t do.

So I headed out King Street to REI in Baileys Crossroads. There being no bike lane beyond Quaker Lane, just gobs of cars piloted by impatient drivers, this would prove to be a rather unpleasant experience. As is obvious, I survived the ordeal but it wasn’t much fun.

At REI I decided to roll The Mule up the five steps to the front door instead of walking to the far side of the doorway to use the ramp. What could go wrong?

Halfway up the steps my lower back seized up with a spike of pain the likes of which I haven’t felt in months. I stopped, took a second to let the pain subside, then pushed The Mule to the landing in front of the door.

REI had a bike computer that did all the tricks I wanted so I bought it. The wait in line was rather painful but my back stayed calm.

I used the ramp leaving the store. Duh. Then rode hilly Carlyn Springs Road to the W&OD Trail. The fact that I could get on my bike and ride it up hills without pain tells me that this episode was a spinal issue not a muscle issue.

I rode home without another back episode. My new saddle position caused me no pain of any sort, even my left knee cap stopped barking at me.

At home I installed the new computer on my bike. Its display is about 50 percent bigger than my old one. Now I can see clearly how slow I am. Then again, if I want an ego boost I just switch to odometer mode: 56,229 miles.

The Mule abides even if my back doesn’t.



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