Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let Sleeping Bras Lie

Another morning, another commute in the spitting rain.  It wasn't so bad really. The rain stopped after 20 minutes. I rode tense all the way expecting that my chain would break at any moment.  It didn't. In a way I was disappointed.  I am sure Woody Allen or Eeyore would have some words of wisdom about this.

The only notable thing that happened on the way to word was my second bra sighting of the year.  I was just past the Slater's Lane connector on the Mount Vernon Trail when I saw a beige (or do they call it biscuit these days?) bra lying on the trail. I'm no good at sizing but it was substantially smaller than the bra I saw near the airport during the winter. This new bra was dry and clean so it hadn't been there long. I didn't stop to pick it up. I'd have felt like a pervert. Let sleeping bras lie.

I made it up the Rosslyn connector in one piece for a change. A bike rider was walker her bike up the hill. I asked if she was okay and she replied, "Oh, I'm fine. Just resting my bum."  I don't know about you but when I want to rest my bum I find a nice easy chair. (This reads like Andy Rooney. We went to the same high school. He got paid to blog on TV. I get bupkiss.)  To each his or her own.

During the day, fellow bike blogger Gypsybug  sent out a call to the Friday Coffee Club  for teammates in the National Bike Challenge. This is some sort of friendly online competition in which teams log rides and miles and blow on vuvuzelas. Actually, I don't have a clue what it is so, true to form, I signed up. Bike shit happens.  Que sera sera. Obladi Oblada. Hakuna Matata.

The ride home felt odd. There was this glowing orange ball in the sky. It seemed to be generating heat. What is this strange orb? It didn't go away. It just stayed there. Looming.

I rode all tensed up, KNOWING that damn chain was going to pop at any second. It held just fine. I even shifted into my big chain ring and everything worked fine.

On the way home I pulled into Spokes Etc. at Belle Haven. I had found a mess of chain in the Rootchopper Institute's vast Bike Parts Warehouse.  Chris the mechanic dove into putting four chain links back onto the Tour Easy's chain.  Neither he nor I had a clue how to thread the new chain through the tensioner. We consulted photos on the Internet.  We thought we had it right but a test ride resulted in the tensioner being upside down.

Another mechanic stepped in to help. During my recent chain escapades, a spring that provided resistance to the tensioner had become dislodged, probably when I disassembled it to free Flor's pant leg.   The mechanics figured out how to reset the spring, then they pulled down another photo of the tensioner from the Internet.  In just a couple of minutes, Big Nellie was back in action.

The whole repair thing took at least a half an hour and cost me less than $10.  Time and money well spent. Having a local bike shop that will do simple (and sometimes not simple) bike repairs while you wait is invaluable to a bike commuter. Spokes at Belle Haven has bailed me out more times than I can remember. My helmet is off to them.

I rode Big Nellie home, grinding all the way up the biggish hill on Fort Hunt Road without the slightest chain problem.  Everything seems to be working fine. (Of course, the remaining spare links are staying in my seat bag forever.)

I entered my miles for the month of May: 525 miles over 16 days of riding so far.  That's over 800 points. I could win a prize. Maybe some Gojo to get the chain gunk off my hands.

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