Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gang Aft Agley

The plan today was: wake early-ish, blog about my 65-ish miles ridden yesterday, bike down to the Women-Who-Bike brunch - maybe stop by Boulevard Bikes while I was in the neighborhood (test ride a Pashley?) - bike home in time for a planned friend-thing at 3-ish, and top off the evening with a good bit of legwarmer knitting whilst watching a fresh episode of Sherlock.


I should've known from the start that it really wasn't meant to be. I woke and felt like I needed about 3 more days of sleep. Followed by a spa day. Just all of me was stiff and tired and didn't want to move. But I soldiered on, because oftentimes, you just need to move around and your body gets over it. So I headed out - a bit later than I'd intended but still enough time to get there. But I went sooooo sloooooow. My whole body was just stiff and tired and didn't want to be pedalling. Such full-body muscular protest. Then about halfway there, I noticed the back tire went flat.

At this point, I just want to say: ARGH. I seriously am thinking to invest in majorly puncture-proof tires, because this is absurdly inconvenient. Especially since I don't have a little air pump. I have a floor pump at home, and I'm just out of places to keep a hand pump on the bike (and, again: sick of spending money on this damn bike). But I was in this No Man's Land - which actually, turned out to be like a 10 minute walk from Roscoe Village, which is decidedly NOT a no-man's land. But I really just didn't have an accurate map of the area in my head.

So I sat down in front of Lane Tech High School and watched a super-cute couple doing a graduation photo shoot as I attempted to change the tire. I figured I could at least do that and then try to hail a passing cyclist in hopes of borrowing a pump, or else go to a gas station and hope the air machine there would work. Little did I realize how much freaking TIME it takes to change a flat when you really have never done it before. Freaking Matt made it look SO EASY when he did it - just whip the tire half-off, put in the tube, ease the tire back onto the rim all quick-like, and like 5 minutes later - voilĂ  fixed tire.

It took me like 30 minutes and 4 broken nails to get the stinking tire off the rim. It's HARD, okay. And then the tube, and getting the tire back on - totally awkward. The entire process took me at least an hour. There go my dreams of being all blasé about the occasional flat tire, Little Miss Fixit. Just as I was finishing, a guy on a bike stopped and said he didn't have a pump, but Roscoe Village Bikes was just that way like a half-mile or so. So I gathered up Pepe and off we went to find the nicest people there at the bike shop. I asked the guy to check the job I did before we filled it with air, in case I did it wrong. He said I passed the test, all is good and I could be on my way.

I wondered briefly whether I could at least make it to the end of the brunch and get a beer. I mean, I could really use a beer after that. But as I walked out of the bike shop, it began to rain. Like, serious rain. Coming down. All over me.

Screw it, I know when I'm defeated. I locked up the bike and walked into the nearest restaurant. I was starving, it was Guatemalan, they gave me free warm milk as I waited for my meal to arrive.

Not a bad turn of events, all things considered. Right across the street was a thrift shop, so after my meal (and a hot cup of coffee), I stepped in and hoped to find a decent rain coat in my size. No such luck, but I did find a jacket that would at least give me some extra warmth, as the temp had dropped and I was just wearing a cotton blouse. Also a cute skirt for $5, so all around not a bad bit of serendipity.

Luck! I thought, as I headed back to my bike. The rain had let up! So I got on the bike and headed home. Then about 3 blocks later, the heavens opened. I was soaked to the skin in less than a mile.

Clearly, I should never have left my house this morning, despite the yummy Guatemalan food and good deals on secondhand clothes. I got home and dried off, only to find that my stupid groin muscle hurt more than ever. I seriously just cannot win with all things bike-related today.

But I did get the time with my friend Laura. And I did watch Sherlock, which was great but I got no knitting done because I was too engrossed in the story and in applying the heating pad to my hip adductor to think about knitting.

So not a total loss. But nuts to trying to keep to a scheduled plan when relying on a not-so-reliable bike. Pshaw.

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