Friday, May 16, 2008

Biking Weekly Recap

Bike: Trek 970
I rode to work, which is 1.2 miles from my apt.
After work, the temperature was right around 58 degrees which I consider ideal.
I was heading to my bike maintainence class. To get there I take a multi-use path along the Columbia River. The route is about 15 miles. The air was dead calm which was exciting. It usually is quite windy and the prevailing wind there is a headwind. As it turns out, the lack of wind was worse. There were millions of gnats swarming over the bike path and made the ride a slog through the bugs.

On one section I chose to ride along the should of Marine Drive, the city has just repaved it and it was a chance to escape the gnats. As I approached Marine Drive, I heard a low whirring sound that was unusual for a vehicle to make and thought that it must be an electric vehicle. What I found out was that it was an 18 wheeler running a diesel engine and the new pavement was so smooth that the truck made very little noise.
The pavement had another surprise for me as well. Just as I reached the end of the newly paved section, a car passed by me. I panicked momentarily and braced for impact. Then I realized what had happened. As the car went from the extra smooth pavement to the older paved section the sound changed from virtually no tire noise to quite a bit. This change in sound right next to me, is what startled me. The abruptness was like a car suddenly locking up its wheels and skidding, which is what my brain registered. The rest of the ride was quite uneventful.

In bike class we learned about bottom brackets and how to service/replace depending upon the type you have. I had also brought in a new chain and rear cassette to put on my bike. I was working on my Portland Heavy Hauler which is a Trek 970 I have owned since I bought it new in '91. The bottom bracket was original and when I took it out, I noticed the seal was gone on one side and there was a lot of crud packed into the bearing area. Also, the bearings were dry and dusty on the non-drive side. I opted to replace this old BB with a cartridge kind.
Due to the extra stuff I was doing, I started to run short on time and kinda rushed the chain replacement part.

When I set out after class, there was a weird sound, feeling to pedaling. I stopped on the sidewalk under a street lamp to check it out. It was 10 P.M. but I had a 10 mile ride and the noise would drive me nuts if I did not deal with it. I leaned the bike against a power pole over a grassy section and saw that the chain was routed wrong in the rear derailer. It went around a metal tab between the jockey wheels that it should not have. I broke the chain at the quick link and routed it properly. But when I tried to reconnect the quick link, I noticed it was not on the chain on one side. GREAT! It was down in the dark grass somewhere. Time to start feeling around for it. After about 3 minutes, I located it and reconnected the chain.

Trek 970
On the ride to work the rain began, and kept up all day. I had my last Thai language lesson downtown after work. A 27 mile round trip. I was not feeling too excited about getting soaked and sitting through the lesson wet, then getting back on the bike and riding home. The desire to skip out on the lesson nagged all afternoon. I planned to set out and ride towards class then, it things were looking down, I could bail.
As it turned out. The rain let up after 5 minutes and never started again. The ride was ideal after that, temperature was about 56 degrees and having just rained, smells were enhanced. I rode under many horse chestnut trees in full bloom and the air was like perfume. When I crossed the Willamette on the Steel Bridge path, there happened to be cycling time trials on the Naito Parkway. The whole street was roped off and there were lots of police and spectators. I asked a cop how I was supposed to get across and he said to just cross when it would not interfere with the cyclists.

I only rode to and from work, it is a cycling rest day. I have 180 miles ridden in the last 5 days and need to rest my muscles and joints.
I did some upper body weights and an hour of yoga.

Bike: Trek 970
Today after work I head back home to Chehalis. More on my weekly commute cycle in a later post. The ride downtown is 12 miles, temperature is 86 degrees today. The first 'hot one' of the year. Smells that I have not experienced for at least 8 months tickled my nose: hot pavement and heated bark dust. I took it real slow, to keep from arriving at the train station all sweaty.

I work from home and so a complete cycling rest day. Did route planning for my ride tomorrow. My SO is watching her nephew in Tacoma and I am going to ride up there.
The route is 67.7 miles and lots of nice route.

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