25 September 2010

Apocalyptic Pinball

Ride #12, Saturday September 25th. About 8 miles.
So there I am, peacefully riding along, admiring the wildlife, coping pretty well with shifting up and down for hills, smiling and waving like some kind of parade float denizen, relaxed and having a dandy time.

weeeeeelllllllll ....

Maybe I was maintaining a deathgrip on my steering, derailling my chain, jamming my gears, sweating, zigging and zagging, all the while frantically dodging trash pickers, roadies, cruisers, dog walkers, and hordes of joggers. In packs! Like - pacelines of pedestrians! Weird.

The reality was somewhere in between the two. Yes, there were a lot of people out on this fine sunny morning enjoying the American River Parkway but for the most part folks are friendly and polite and really good at sharing the space. However, I did need to pay strict attention while riding along just because it was so busy.

I only encountered one group of oblivious walkers: I was able to squeeze by without having to come to a complete stop (which would have discommoded the fellow overtaking me), or without swerving into the opposite lane (which would have disturbed the handful of riders in that lane), or without clipping any of the walkers (which would have been bad cess for all).

Intrepid river cleanup volunteers!
Today is the annual Great American River Cleanup - when scores of volunteers tidy the river. So a big shout-out to anyone anywhere who has volunteered to clean, maintain, or otherwise take care of a swath of outdoor recreation area. You rock! (That explains the trashpickers).

And there were at least six groups of briskly walking or jogging folks - they slowed to a walk all together, picked up the pace all at once, and so on. Is it a hive-mind or just very organized? You decide. I think there were maybe eight or ten to a group. (So that's the pedestrian pacelines).

I actually passed someone today! On a bike! Ok, it was a cruiser type bike and he
Cruiser/hybrid bikes - comfortable but not fast
was mashing the pedals so was not going very fast. And later on he passed me. But I felt all powerful and shiny for a few moments. I was pleased to note a top speed of 18 mph - pedaling this time. My average is still around 10mph. I don't expect it to increase for quite some time.

I need to sort out the front dérailleur - I managed to drop my chain between the smallest and middle rings. I also need to carry some line and a bungie cord with me, so I have a way to hang the rear of the machine up off the ground so I can turn the cranks and fix the chain. The rope etc. might also come in handy when I need to fix a flat. Today I enlisted the help of a young man passing by to hold the wheel off the ground while I fixed the chain. We had a nice conversation about trikes. He thinks his mom should get one. I stayed in the middle ring for the rest of the ride - not tempting fate, I.

Monday or Tuesday for the next installment.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

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