Three Good Things

There’s not much I can do to remove the clots from my lungs and my leg. I just have to take my medicine and wait. Unfortunately the medicine itself can cause big problems. So I have taken some steps to shore up my defenses.

For much of 2017 I rode without a helmet. I hate helmets. So it was a little bit ironic that  I bought a new helmet with the multi-dimensional impact protection system or MIPS. This type of helmet has a plastic liner that moves. The idea is that if you hit your helmet on something your head won’t just smash into the inside of the helmet. Instead the plastic liner will allow your melon to move a bit, reducing (so they say) the chance of a concussion. For me, that might mean reducing the chance of blood building up in my brain – which can be fatal.

Fatal is not good.

Before my bike tour to Florida, I bought an Ortlieb mirror. It was a godsend, especially when I looked at it and saw a dump truck bearing down on me in West Palm Beach. I was about to lose my lane. Instead of proceeding I stopped and the dump truck didn’t. I’d have been toast.

Toast is not good.

So I bought another mirror for my Cross Check which will make riding in traffic around and in DC a bit safer.

My third acquisition is a Road ID. It’s a wrist band with a small metal clip attached. The clip has my name, my wife’s name and phone numbers, and critical medical information: Xarelto, Asthma, and A+, my blood type. In the event that I am unconscious medical professionals will know that I am likely to bleed uncontrollably.

Bleeding uncontrollably is not good.

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Purple Road ID wrist band, Ortlieb mirror, and MIPS helmet. 

So, it’s all good.

Shopping for My Bike Tour

I am in pretty good shape in terms of gear for my bike tour. I don’t plan on cooking so I don’t have to bring a stove or a pot and that sort of stuff. There are a few things I know I need and one that I might experiment with.

  • Panniers: I have been using Ortlieb roll top panniers for over ten years. I have big ones for the rear and small ones for the front. They are fantastic. Basically they are a big waterproof bag. I am on my second set of rear panniers and they are starting to leak. I think I bought them less than 5 years ago and am trying to get them replaced under warranty. Not many people use the same panniers day in day out for 200+ days a year like I do. So we’ll see if I can get them for free regardless. Otherwise, I need to buy new ones.

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  • Sleeping pad: I bought a 3/4ths length Thermarest self inflating sleeping pad about 12 years ago. It might be useful for a ten year old but I have never been able to sleep on it. This caused a bit of a problem when you’ve just ridden a tank for 90 miles and you’re body needs rest. My friend Michelle recently did some backpacking in Shenandoah National Park and raved about her REI sleeping pad so I bought one.  It’s more than twice as thick as the Thermarest and it’s 6 feet long. It is a little narrow. I am optimistic. Thanks, Michelle.

  • Mirror: I use a mirror on my recumbent. I really like it. In fact, for a while, I used two but this makes my wingspan a bit too wide for riding on trails as I do around home. The mirror on my recumbent attaches to the end of the handlebar. I can’t do that on The Mule, my touring bike, because it has bar end shifters. So I either have to use a mirror attached to my helmet or some other type. I don’t much like either but the Adventure Cycling Association sells a couple that I might give a tryout to this summer.
  • Tires: I might buy new tires. I usually use Schwalbe Marathons because they are very puncture resistant. They also last a really long time. The front one on The Mule is a Marathon Plus which is more resistant. It probably has 3,000 miles on it. Just to be safe., I will take a folding spare along just in case. (I had a tour ruined by a tire failure.)