3.12.2011

words... words... words...

ah... it is unfortunate that as a self proclaimed veteran of the bicycle experience I would constantly catch myself making rookie mistakes
rookie mistakes repeated...
repeated again and again

too often to grant myself forgiveness

last week as the weekend approached I witnessed all sorts of people on the DCMTB list serve plotting and planning
different meet ups on various trail networks around the city
the general consensus... ride Saturday... it is going to rain Sunday

Saturday is not such a good "ride day" for me
my wife Lisa usually tries to go to Yoga
my boys have Karate year round
then soccer in the Spring and Fall

soccer being a tough activity to plot and plan around since I am the coach of my younger son Grant's first grade team

the morning came and I went up to Karate with my younger son Grant so that I could watch the boys
since I do not attend every Karate session I get pleasure out of attending the occasional practice
after the boys were done with their practices there was a mass migration to the freshly renovated playground at the neighborhood DC Public School that they do not attend.... but visit for their Karate Classes

all sorts of families followed the same unscripted plan
with other parents to keep an eye on my kids I left off for Heller's Bakery on Mount Pleasant Street to grab two dozen donuts for our pack
the donuts were a perfect fuel for the fun we were having

after a serious doughnut break I joined in on a pick up game of touch football that involved most anyone who wanted to play
after a rewarding morning on the still super fresh miniature astro turf field at Bancroft Elementary we left off for home
once home I made mention to Lisa about mountain biking

it was short notice... but I got my permission slip signed
on the computer checking around
trying to catch people on the phone
scans of the DCMTB list for some of the meeting points

it was afternoon... I had missed the mountain bike boat
my ride would be solo
so... I gathered my bike and my gear trying to select the right balance of cycling apparel for this rather warm and almost balmy winter day with its spring feel
in packing my bags I took a seat pack in hand then tossed it aside
foolishly thinking... I am just going to Fountainhead... what would I need a tube, pump, or multi-tool for?

with the Honda Element loaded I headed to the trailhead
across the bridge in Northern Virginia
just a few miles from the trailhead I saw my brother Marc with fellow DCMTB team mates Chris Clark and Raul...
they were all smiles after their ride at Fountainhead
I departed as Raul told me that he thought if I hurried I may be able to catch Cargo Mike in the woods

I left off for the trailhead with the hopes to find a wheel to chase
my arrival to the parking lot was full of hope
lots of cars... and even lots of bikes
but no sign of Cargo Mike or his car

so... I geared up and mounted up into the woods
I started off tame trying to warm up my legs and my touch
it has been a while since I had been on dirt so there was not the option to take it to race pace

out of the gate on tight single track trail I was quickly reminded how technical Fountainhead can be
down the hill and then up the hill I was reminded how difficult the climbs at Fountainhead can be
on a 32X18 instead of my usual 33X18 was a good early season choice
out of the saddle and muscling a climb it happened
that thing that reminded me that I should have brought my seat pack full of tools
my rear wheel slipped forward
with the wheel not locked in place in the horizontal drop outs riding was not an option
actually... rolling the bike was not an option
I was forced to turn it around and carry my bike out of the woods

humbling once again
I was taught the lesson...

A SHORT BIKE RIDE CAN BE A LONG WALK...


in the parking lot I was frustrated by my rookie mistake
my self loathing increased as my frustration raised towards eruption
lots of people in the parking lot not one person with a 15mm Box Wrench
just as I was ready to pack it in and head for home with my tail between my legs I approached a couple as they loaded their bikes on top of their car
sure enough... they had a pedal wrench... which would work for the bolt as they each measure 15mm

with my wheel back in place I returned the tool asking the DC couple if they could shadow me in the woods in case I had another mechanical or gods forbid... A FLAT TIRE

into the woods feeling a little bit of DejaVue
I repeated the same short set of trail that I had just ridden
as I stepped up out of the saddle and mashed the pedals I cleared the climb where my wheel had slipped forward some time earlier that day
rolling forward I did a mental cross of the fingers that all the mechanical of the day were behind me

two loops of the Fountainhead interior and then a wonderful ride on the new trails of the Fountainhead Project and I was feeling it it had been a good day on the bike
the first lap brushed some cob webs free which allowed me to really let the wheels roll on lap two
back at the car I reflected on my foolishness promising myself that I would get better organized and make sure that I do not repeat this mistake again

really.... with my basement of bike stuff I lack any solid excuse for getting on the bike without being prepared
sure enough... Sunday came and so did the rain
headed down the stairs I laughed at the rain as I moved slowly with my stiff legs

the week started with a day at my old job
then after punching the clock and sliding down the dinosaur I looked forward to a long week of heavily scheduled bicycle advocacy at The National Bike Summit
more on the NBS later...

the days went by and I rode to and from the The National Bike Summit on my Fat Albert and the Gang Bakfiet part of the production of this rig is not only the functionality of a two wheel grocery getter
to aid in an effort to lessen my car dependency and live with the pride of calling myself CAR LITE
then also to share with those that I pass on the sidewalks and the streets that such a contraption exists and could fit into their lives as well

sure enough... the big rig with its wheel barrow in the front catches people's attention
people on the sidewalks shouting out various notions of approval
tourist kids screaming approval in their kid sort of way
at the Summit there was clever conversation and question of design features
I lacked the answers for weight and wheel base

then at the end of the week I closed this by attending the Congressional Bike Ride on the Franken-Bakfiet
the ride went well... but what was an occasional skip in the smaller cogs in the back became a more frequent issue
after the ride I ran a multitude of errands and attended a few of my scheduled non bike meetings

when riding home to hang with the kids so my wife Lisa could meet some friends for dinner I got yet another slap to the face
while spinning my way up the sidewalk along side Malcolm X Park I heard a click and felt a skip then another click and another skip
I tried to go to a larger cog in the back to find a gear that would not skip
then... another click... another skip and my legs were spinning the cranks with zero resistance
I knew what happened
before my bike started rolling backwards I stopped the bike and leaned it against a tree
then went a few steps back to gather my fallen chain

with chain in hand I went for my pack
PISS! SH_T! F_CK!
I had my Timbuk2 messenger bag... not my standard Camelbak commuter pack
I was without my tools
WHAT!?!?!?
Had I not learned this lesson less than a week prior?

knowing I needed to get home I started to hoof it
again realizing that A SHORT BIKE RIDE CAN EASILY TRANSLATE INTO A LONG WALK

I had considered attaching a small tool box to my Franken-bakfiet well... the risk of theft may be there the notion of having to walk
because I lack the tools or tubes to stay mobile may outweigh those risks lessons learned time to remedy this situation so I do not find myself in this position of walking when I can be riding!

total rookie mistake
the "early season" excuse does not work for the year around rider
the bag gets heavy with its tubes and tools
so often these things are carried and never used
but then
then when needed... it is a pleasure to have them

a seat pack should be on every incarnation of bicycle I own

road bike... cross bike... mountain bike

there should be a pack with the specific tube to work with that bike
and a pump that can meet the desired tire pressure

I was going to link to all sorts of stuff and attach some images
but like many of my rants
it just seems like it is best to finish it and hit PUBLISH AND POST

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