Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bike Repair...Finally!!!

What a difference seven hours of sleep makes! I got up feeling good despite it being dark outside. The miles just peeled away. I wanted to get two hours under my belt before I stopped, but after an hour I had to stop to take off my jacket and have a snack. The wind was supposed to be at my back the entire day, but I found the wind swirling quite a bit. Why is it that when the wind is supposed to be in my face, it is. I never get a surprise tail wind. At one point I was so unbelievably frustrated by the wind. How could the local news as well as the weather channel get it so completely wrong? I cursed out loud.

As I rode past a couple of deer on the side of the road I scared them off. Its funny that so many animals could care less if a car comes by, but when a bicycle passes them, they freak out and run away. Cows seem largely indifferent to my passing by, though every now and again one will run off. I elicit a completely different response from dogs, but I won’t go there.

In the morning I called a bike shop in Ocala, FL to see if they were actually open. They closed at six, but said to bring the bike in if I could make the 110 miles before then. I was really planning on heading further south before crossing my way over the peninsula to the east coast of Florida, but getting my bike fixed had to take precedence. It was one of the reasons that I was so angry about the swirling wind. I had someplace to be and had to be there before six.

I rode over the Suwannee River, immortalized in song by Stephen Foster (and by the piano stylings of Ed Norton). I am not sure what area of the river inspired Stephen Foster, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t where Route 27 crossed it. For those of you not familiar with Foster’s work, he also composed Camptown Races and Oh! Susanna, back in the mid-1800’s.

I started seeing signs for Orlando. I really didn’t want to get into any Orlando traffic, though I kind of wanted to go to Disney, ride Space Mountain and hit up the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I tend to think though that a single adult male hanging around Tomorrowland would draw the attention and ire of security. I had already been to Disneyland in Orlando as well as the Disney outposts in Paris and Hong Kong, but I was with a female companion in all cases, so security had no reason to be circumspect.

In the afternoon the wind was consistently behind me. It was a good thing, if I was planning to make it to the bike shop before they closed. I also couldn’t roll in at five minutes to six and think they would take a look at my bike. I was riding hard and my body was feeling it. My back was hurting in a completely new location. At least my spine mixes it up.

On any given day I probably ride past 50 roads/buildings/parks, etc., named after people. I think it should be required that if something is named after someone, there should be a small description as to what the person had accomplished in their life so as to merit having something named after them. It would keep me from saying “I wonder who that guy was?", several dozen times a day.

I made it to the bike shop at four. The guy checked out my bike and pulled the cranks and bottom bracket. He found a few odd threads or some other business in there that didn’t belong. He lubed it up, put it back together and it was running smooth. Unfortunately though he also adjusted my derailleur. It had taken me 2,500 miles to get it where I wanted it, so I had to fix that again. I noticed that one of the cogs on my cassette was a bit worn, but not to the point that I had to do anything about it. It just wasn’t running as smooth as the other cogs. After the ride I will have to replace the cassette along with the brake pads, tires and possibly other things.

I rode another ten miles on the day just to be sure that the bike was going to continue running smoothly. It was a pleasure to listen to, or rather not hear odd noises coming from the bike.

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