Saturday, March 17, 2007

Breakin' in my bike

or "When I didn't turn back"
or "The stupid map was wrong"

The weather today was -2°C, sunny and a slightly windy. A perfect day to start getting back into shape and to start getting ready to bike into work.

I decided to go for bike ride. Nothing too too long: through the little wooded area near our house, over to the Grand River, down the trail there, and back to our house. And Tara would be riding with me for the first leg. Easy peasy.

Except that one of the roads that existed before no longer does. Zeller Dr. has been removed and replaced with a rough dirt road. And here's the thing about waterloo region dirt roads and bikes: they get along really really well until Mr. Water comes along and turns all that dirt into mud - sticky, dries-like-cement mud.

I must take the majority of blame here. I should have turned around when I saw the "The Road Is Closed" sign. I should have said to myself "just go home".

I thought I could get to the Grand River trail. I thought that the road was dry enough to bike on. I thought that it would be easy and good exercise. I thought wrong (well, except for the exercise part).

I soon found myself rim deep in mud that was sticking to everything. I decided to plough my way through it thinking that it was only for a few meters. I kept ploughing and ploughing, each pedal rotation getting harder and harder. Eventually I did get onto a dry patch. I hopped off my bike to look at the situation.

I lifted up my bike - it was at least twice as heavy. I quickly muttered a self-despising grunt and I turned me and my bike around.

The amazing disappearing tire

Now, not only was I peddling a 40lb beast, but the wind was against me and it felt like it picked up. I chunked it into a lower gear, bowed my head and kept rotating my feet.

Once I got off the dirt road I stopped to clear off as much of the mud as possible. It is at this point in time that I learned about the 'quick drying cement-like' quality of the dirt that just attached itself to my bike. Most of it wouldn't come off without a quantity of work that I was unwilling to do at the time. Another grunt and I jumped backed on and made the long trip home.

All in all I probably biked about 9km. Long enough for the first bike after the snow. Maybe I'll wait until the ground dries up again before heading to the river...

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