Sunday, August 24, 2014

disappointments and unexpected pleasures

This weekend was one of those three-day weekends I get (I get every other Friday off). On Friday, I had planned to spend a lot of time at the Social Security office, because I was unable to set up an online account, and one way to get past whatever lockout I encountered was to go to the Social Security office in person to get an access code. I work in a welfare office, and I know that some of our clients spend days trying to manage some comparatively simple task, so I got there early and brought a book. But they were taking names and giving places in line when I got there (about twenty minutes before the official opening), and I was called promptly (about five minutes before the official opening), and I was out, with access code in hand, and about half an hour (and the access code worked; I now have a login and password).

For the rest of the day, though, I had nothing much to do. The ups and downs set a tone which has continued through the weekend.

Yesterday was supposed to be Tom H's Lying Bastard ride, but Tom sensibly called it off when he found it was raining on the ride route (his fraudulent blog post notwithstanding). I had been looking forward to that ride more than I like to say, and, when he postponed it to the next day, I was jealous and disappointed that I wouldn't be able to go; I had a D ride scheduled. Friend Dave C invited us to his place to a ride that he would lead; Laura OLPH and I went, as did Shawn R for part of the way. We did this route, and, as Laura wrote in her post, it rained on us pretty much the whole way. I'm grateful to Dave for leading, and to Laura and Shawn for coming out... but The Excellent Wife (TEW) will tell you, I was not great company for the rest of the day when I got home; even buying her a present didn't lift my gloom.

Below: Shawn and Dave at the start of the ride.

Laura appears.

Dave brought out this Bianchi his wife got him; he rode one like it years ago.

On the road. We must have been crazy.

Today broke clear as a bell, and not too hot, so while many of my friends were calling Tom a Lying Bastard (grrr...), I led TEW and two others on this route (I forgot to turn on the tracker for the first mile-and-a-half or so; we actually did about 16 miles). In addition to TEW, two others came out: Matt, a fellow volunteer at the New Brunswick Bike Exchange, and Jocelyn, a new member of the Freewheelers. It was a good ride. We stopped at the new Better World Market, a project of Elijah's Promise. Better World has coffee (from Rojo's!), sweets, gelato, cold drinks, as well as local produce, sausage, meats, and other products; check 'em out.

After that ride, though, I felt like I needed to get another one in. I decided to do my Coppermine from Home route. I should have planned better; the only food and drink I had was my morning coffee, an iced coffee from Better World, and half a big cookie. As I was going up Coppermine, two things happened: I bonked, and I felt a rub in the rear brake. I stopped to clear my head (and the brake), and still got up Coppermine at good speed; my average was above 18.5 when I got to the bottom of Old Georgetown. And then I felt like I was bonking again; I went slower and slower... and was passed by a guy on a hybrid. On a hunch, I checked: the rear brake was binding again. I opened it up, and got zipping along as if  knew what I was doing, and got my speed up to 18.2 by the end of the ride.

At home, I threw the bike on the stand to fix the brake (and give it a cleaning; it was filthy from the rain yesterday), and no sooner had I done so than a little Indian girl from the neighborhood appeared, asking if her dad could bring over a bike for me to look at. Shortly after that, the dad, the girl, and a few other hangers-on were watching me patch a tube, then adjust a brake on another kids bike. One of the neighbors asked about the bikestand, and if he could get the Nashbar one instead; I told him we'd had two at the bike exchange, and both were broken in less than two years. Then I pumped up the tires on the bikes and had the kids ride the bikes around the back driveway where I could see that things looked like they were working OK. My bike wrenching has become something of a neighborhood institution (and a neighborhood entertainment). And that's not a bad thing.

But I'm really sorry I missed that Lying Bastard ride.

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