Back on Track – August 2021

I have been thinking about a three-peat all year. I did over 10,000 miles in 2019 and 2020. Can I pull it off again?

It was looking pretty bleak there for a while. My winter doldrums put me 2,000 miles in the hole. Some of this is expected because of the crummy riding weather early in the year but I, to be honest, was outdoing myself in the sloth department.

Each month since March, I’ve been chipping away at the deficit. I finally made it back on track last week. I am now on schedule to reach 10,059 miles by year’s end. To get there, I have to bang out some big miles in September and October because November and December are usually inhospitable to wheeling.

When it wasn’t wet around here, it was oppressively hot and humid. It’s been so muggy recently that even the breeze generated by riding has not been a relief. Ugh.

I rode 29 out of 31 days last month for a total of 957 miles. My longest ride was only 39 miles. But for few short rides to run errands and test out my handiwork on a few of my bikes, my shortest ride was 29 miles. My recent ride on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, filled with road and bridge outages, was my only ride that didn’t begin and end at home.

I attended a few coffee get-togethers in Old Town Alexandria at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. (Thanks, Judd.) I also rode into DC for a happy hour. (Thanks, Kate.) And then there was a ride to the ballpark. (The Nats lost.) And a social ride that toured sites of import to the history of entertainment in Alexandria. (Thanks, Josephine.)

Little NellieBig NellieThe MuleThe CrossCheckTotal
August 202161.5348.0134.0413.5957.0
2021 Year-to-Date84.51,709.52,124.52,778.56,697.0

Among the accomplishments buried in the numbers are the fact that I moved my daughter to law school in Connecticut without destroying my back. I am still waiting for a crushing spasm to knock me off my feet, as I knock wood whenever the chance arises.

I finally got back on Little Nellie, my Bike Friday folding travel bike. I lowered the handlebars and the change greatly improved the ride quality. Unfortunately, the impact shock of the bike’s wee wheels still does not agree with my lower back. More tweaks lie ahead.

And Big Nellie returned to form after its fork snapped off during a ride in June. With the help of Peter Stull of The Bicycle Man who sold me the fork and the three-headed team – Beth, Daniel, and Tim – at Bikes at Vienna Humpty Dumpty was put back together again. It took me a while to trust the bike again, fork breaks will do that, I am now zipping around on my street luge to the amusement of little kids and the scoffs of teenagers. Recumbents reveal these things about child development.

My next mechanical issue is the repair of the Brooks saddle on The Mule. After over 6,000 miles of riding one of the nuts holding the springs on the underside of the saddle worked its way loose and fell off. The bike is still rideable but I suspect the nut was there for a reason and am determined to replace it. Normally, I’d go to the hardware store and buy a nut and thread it back on and tighten it with a wrench. But NOOOO. This nut is for a 9/32 sized bolt which Brooks sourced from another planet. And the wrench is every bit as rare. My plan is to steal a nut from another Brooks saddle and hope I can thread it on with an adjustable wrench. If not, I’ll be ordering a wrench and a nut from the Interwebs in the hopes of healing the patient.

On to September. Long rides ahead!

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