Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 27: First day with the old bike

Day 27 miles to/from work: 26.8
Total miles for S4S: 712.5

This morning it was not just misty, it was foggy. Not fully, can't-see-squat foggy. But it definitely surpassed "misty". When Ironsides and I left this morning, it was 50 degrees, but the dampness made it feel 10 degrees cooler.

As mentioned in Day 26, Friday's post (yes, the one that was there for 40 hours until Blogspot capriciously and unceremoniously blew it into oblivion and which I had to re-construct), Silver Beauty is in the bike infirmary. Yesterday I took Ironsides, my old Cannondale, off the trainer; and Scott installed a rack to hold my panniers. I hunted and gathered old bike lights, which Scott also mounted. I aired up tires, and Ironsides was road ready.

Let me tell you about this "senior bike". I bought him in San Mateo, California in 1990 when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. Even though his name is Ironsides (with something similar to "Cannonball" inscribed on his tube, what would you expect?), he is made of aluminum, which makes him a fast lightweight. His sentimental value to me far outweighs anything even close to what he could command on the open market. Ultimately, he is an old friend; and I would never put him out on those ice floes for senior bikes known as eBay and Craig's List.

As Ironsides and I set out in the mist/fog, he was so happy to be outside instead of on a trainer in the basement; and I was happy to have a bike to keep going with S4S. It felt good to be riding with my old friend again, but also alien and off-balance from my usual commute experience. Silver Beauty is a hybrid with gear shifts integrated on her upright handlebars, and with stable mid-sized tires. Ironsides is a road bike made for racing, with old-style analog gear shifts on the tube, skinny tires, and dropped handlebars that look like ram's horns. He was not designed to have 30 pounds of crap slung over his back tire.

The immediate feeling was one of both instability and lightness. Those teeny tires were made more unstable with that 30 pounds of cargo on the back, giving a tippy sensation of teetering on the brink. There wasn't a moment of today's rides in which I didn't feel just a little terrified. But it also held true to a mantra of the securities industry:  "The greater the risk, the higher the yield." Pedaling Ironsides was virtually effortless, and with just the smallest effort, I felt like I was flying. That thin ribbon of rubber, airlifted by 110 pounds per square inch, elevated me off the ground and into euphoria. With a hint of  terror.

As I was crossing Mineral Point Road, Ironsides froze and all motion stopped. I barely managed to keep from crashing to the ground. Was Ironsides now doing the same shenanigans as Silver Beauty? I pulled him off the road and onto the median, stripped off the panniers, and turned him upside down. Oh look. The rear wheel is completely out of its seating. When I took him off the trainer, I hadn't tightened the wheel into place. In the words and mental capacity of Homer Simpson: D'oh! I reseated the wheel, tightened the locks, and reassembled the commuter crap.

The rest of the ride to work, and the ride home were without incident. Thank goodness! I picked up Silver Beauty at Machinery Row;  and the three of us headed to home sweet home. Safe. Sound. Stable. And still savoring the memory of flying.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on making it to work and back, but more to the point, congrats on passing 700 miles Our Lady of Forever Homes!!!!
    You rock Lizzie Girl!!