Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Worst Day Ever!

There was a light rain this morning and the Chicago area forcast threatened even heavier weather. I left my car, raincoat and umbrella at work the previous day. Since I was going to get wet either way, I decided to bike in and make the best of it. After donning my Goretex jacket and Neoprene booties, I was ready to roll at 6:00 am. My booties did a decent job keeping my feet from getting wet but I was getting a little sweaty in the Goretex. The ride was fine until I hit a pothole on Ridge in front of Evanston Hospital and suffered a pinch flat in my rear wheel. I got an extra tube out of my seat pouch and got busy. I was able to remove the wheel without taking off my pannier and was back on the road within 15 minutes. I would still arrive at work early. My only concern was that the spare tube was a 700x19 for a 700x25mm tire. I crossed my fingers and rode on.

The Lakefront Trail was practically deserted. I was the only biker until around Montrose, a commuter on a road bike screamed past me. We exchanged hellos and I drafted off him as long as I could. At Addison I realized keeping up with him was a pipe dream. He cruised away and by the time I passed Belmont he had vanished in the distance. Just as well, my middle aged legs aren't meant for such punishment (although he looked just as old if not older than me).

The rain was still light but I sensed some sogginess in my left foot. I guess the Neoprene is far from fool proof.

If getting soggy wasn't bad enough, I suffered another rear wheel pinch flat somewhere around the Oak Street curve. I sensed my ride was a little more labored and the bumps seemed a little harder. The tire wasn't fully deflated but I could tell something was up. I soldiered on since I only had about five miles to go. But after crossing the Chicago River I realized I had to do something or I'd ruin my rim. I stopped just south of Wacker Drive and reinflated my tire. I could hear the air escaping but I hoped it would hold long enough to get me a bit further so I wouldn't have to patch my other tire in the rain.

After clanking past Monroe Street, I realized I was kidding myself. At this pace I would be pumping up my tire every other block. So I pulled over to a park bench, took off my jacket and got busy once again. Then the rain really started to pour. Patching a tire with an old patch kit is quite challenging. I only had one patch left and it was much too big for the tire. Plus my tube of cement was nearly dried out and now had a gummy consistency. Needless to say, the patch didn't take. So I decided to retreat to the Millenium Park Bike Station where I might be able to buy another tube. Fortunately I didn't have any early appointments at work.

I trotted my bike over the winding bridge spanning Columbus Drive and eventually got to the bike station. Luckily for me the bike station and its little shop is open at this hour. Unfortunately the guy on duty didn't have access to the repair shop where all the spare tubes are kept. They didn't have any repair kits on sale but they did have some rubber sleeve that supposedly patches a hole. At $3.99 it was about the cost of a whole other tube and seemed like a goofy solution. So I decided to just do a better job patching one of my tubes now that I had a roof over my head.

About 10 minutes later I got my tire patched and was back on the road. I finally arrived at work at 9:00 am; about an hour and fifteen minutes later than I should have. Another unlucky break was that the female custodial staff was cleaning the locker room. So I had to wait another fifteen minutes to take a shower. What a morning!

Work brought me out to Dolton and I bought a thorn resistant tube at Compleat Cyclist.

Distance Traveled: 24.7 miles
Distance to date: 467.6 miles
Price of gas: $2.99

1 comment:

Da' Square Wheelman, said...

The weather has sucked although it seems to be improving. And welcome aboard with your blog. It's great. I'm going to link it to mine at

Feel free to do the same!