Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Comedy of errors

The weather promised to be beautiful and I had no directly-after-work obligations so today was the perfect day for this fair weather cyclist to commute. Unfortunately, those after work obligations and weekend laziness -- okay, I wasn't entirely lazy; I did clean the house, after all -- caused the MUCH-needed cleaning of my beloved Lily the Ariel to fall by the wayside. Her chain and sprockets are filthy and have been making terrible grindy noises for a while. At this point, I'm kind of afraid to ride her until I've given the chain and cassette some TLC. With those considerations, I rode Circe the Dolce to work.

This is the second time I've commuted by road bike and I find the departure preparation is more intense than the hybrid's. Mainly, Lily is outfitted with a basket and shopping pannier. I dump my purse in the basket and clothes bag in the pannier and hit the road. I typically check the tire pressure every few days or so because she's got a fairly wide pressure range and when I top off, I go to the top of the range. Not so with Circe. She has no basket and no rack. I had to  scrounge up the hub's backpack and stow my clothes in a plastic bag within the backpack -- he keeps some of his martial arts gear in there and it's kind of stinky -- and dump my purse necessaries into the pack. Where are my gloves? Where are my helmet and glasses? Yes, I wear a different helmet and glasses on the road bike. Oh! Tire pressure. Circe's a fickle beast and her narrow tire pressure range requires my checking every time I take her out. Yep, low again.

Is it just me, or does everyone work up a sweat using a little pump to inflate tires?

All right. Got all the gear. Got the bike outside and the front door locked. Ready for take off and I realize that I had taken off the front reflector so I could attach the handlebar bag. No worries, Virginia law states either a front reflector of a headlight and my little wo blinky is on the front fork... except it isn't. Drat! It must've fallen off in transport at some time. Good thing those lights are cheap. Back into the house to find the reflector... crap, where did I put it when I cleaned? After a fairly quick and unsuccessful search, I said screw it and decided to go with a headlight. I dug through the basket in the coat closet and found a suitable light. Good thing I checked to see if it worked, though, because it had no batteries. Good thing I have a stockpile of rechargeables in the kitchen drawer. It took another five minutes or so to actually attach the headlight to my surprisingly thick handlebar.

Is it just me, or does everyone work up a sweat when attaching a headlamp and discovering that they are now running pretty late for work?

After that, the commute itself was a snap aside from the rusted out pickup truck nearly running me down when he tried to make a U-turn at the opening of the neighborhood as I approached the stop sign. Oh, and the indecisive groundhogs who slithered across the W&OD trail and then couldn't decide whether to proceed or retreat as I approached at speed. Oh, and the cars passing me so closely on that last stretch of surface street before the campus that their side mirrors would have grazed me if I'd stuck out my elbow. At least the weather was nice and I was only two minutes late for the conference call.


  1. Wow.....I feel all stressed out after reading that. I think I'll go and lie down in a darkened room and dream of calmly cycling along a country lane..


    1. Awww. :) The evening commute will be MUCH easier since everything is already prepped. But cycling down a country lane does sound awfully nice.