I've mentioned in the past how on several of Laura OLPH's Hill Slug rides, she doesn't finish with the people she started with. It makes her crazy; she's afraid people will think her rides are tougher than they are. In truth, usually only one or two people leave her rides, and it happens on rides led by others as well.
And then there was the ride today. This was one of Dennis W's "Old Guys" rides, a Wednesday ride out of Byron Johnson Park in Allentown. As last week, I got up early and rode down from Etra Park in Hightstown, and met the folks at Byron Johnson Park (I may have killed the camera; more than half of the pictures didn't come out; you'll get one sample below among the good ones - and none of the start pictures came out). This one made all the other rides I've been on look like models of cohesion.
We started with 21 or 22 (there is some dispute), and with that number, Leader Dennis W. asked me to sweep again. At about twelve miles, leader Dennis pulled over complaining of dizziness. It passed enough for him to proceed, but not enough for him to feel comfortable leading the ride. So at that point, co-leader Al P and Ira S decided to go back with Dennis to the start; Ed P would lead the ride the rest of the way.
We were a short distance from the stop in Columbus when the same fellow who had had a flat last week flatted again, this time on the front wheel. The rest of the group went on to the stop; he fixed has flat while I and one other rider waited for him. (I'm very proud of myself for not sticking my nose into his tire change.)
We got to the stop and chatted with the others.
As was preparing to leave again, I went around to look at my bike and noticed it was leaning, with his leaning on it. His front tire was flat again, and one of my rear spokes was broken. I quickly decided I could not true the rear wheel enough to leave the brake closed, so I opened the brake and planned to ride home the rest of the way like that.
The other fellow's tire caused more concern. Here's a terrible picture of a committee trying to manage the tire:
Another tube went flat in the repair process. As time went on, most of us wanted to leave; we did, leaving Ed and the other rider behind. So now we were about 17.
We broke up into a fast group and a slow group, then the slow group broke again, and shortly there were only three of us together when we pulled back into the park in Allentown. Most of the others were already there (some had already left). Shortly behind us came Ed (I didn't see the other rider). Ed explained that the other rider had had a hole in his sidewall.
I went back myself up to Etra, stopping briefly at Bruno's to pick up some small parts. Just before I got to the park I came on Don S, who had been on the ride; I caught up and we chatted for a bit.
Here's my route. It includes my somewhat-roundabout ride to Allentown, and my straight ride back.
And when I built the wheels for the Krakow Monster (the bike I was on today*), I ordered extra spokes... so I repaired the wheel, and it's ready to go again.
*I've sort of unofficially decided that the Krakow Monster, the steel bike that I think of as my cycling SUV, will be my ride of choice for rides rated C+ or lower; for rides rated B or higher, I'll use the titanium Yellow Maserati, which I think of as my sportscar bike.