Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ideal Day To Ride

Another fantastic day to bike home. After the months of grimey snow and ice, I still haven't gotten use to riding in such ideal weather. Which is why I still pack my jacket, pants, and booties. My body is still a little creaky from my weekend's lacrosse misadventure so I contemplated staying off the bike. But once I got going I was back to my old self.

My experiment with White Lightning wax lubricant is over. I ran out and decided to go back to regular chain lube. The wet conditions and extra effort to lubricate my chain just wasn't worth any dirt shedding advantages. Plus other areas I normally would have coated in oil were getting neglected. I bought a bottle of ProLink at Performance and liberally oiled my chain, crank, and pedals. Voila! The creaking from my crank is now gone. All this time I thought it was a faulty chain ring.

The Lakefront Trail was quite populated today with fellow bicyclists, runners, and walkers. It makes riding a bit of a challenge but I'm sure I'm not an entirely welcome presence either. I do my best to be vigilant and courteous. South of Oak Street I sensed a rider drafting. It is always kind of an ego boost when someone else is relying on me for a pull.

I was trying to catch up to a shirtless roadie I saw way up ahead. I didn't catch up until around North Avenue Beach. He was a rather big guy and I thought it would be no problem keeping up with him. Naturally I was wrong. I volunteered to take the lead around Belmont but that didn't last as long as I was following him. As the ride continued I found myself straining more and more to keep up. As the bike path got less congested, the gentleman on my tail volunteered to take the lead. He rode a fixed gear bike and wasn't comfortable leading while among crowds. At the interesection of either Wilson or Lawrence we slowed for pedestrian and motor traffic and I just couldn't recover the pace. So I let up and just tried to keep from fainting. At the turn around the roadie was relaxing so I got a chance to thank him for leading. At the red light at Ardmore I caught up to the other rider.

His name is Sean and we happened to ride together last fall. He accompanied me along my route and I asked him about fixed gear riding and he generously offered to let me try his bike on a quiet side street. I found the fixed gear bike really light but quite a challenge after decades of conventional riding. The geometry of his bike was a little tighter compared to my touring bike. But I was only on it for a few minutes. Not really enough time to appreciate the advantages of fixed gearing. We continued on until Sean broke off at Howared and Clark.

At Greenleaf and Chicago, I had a close call with a lady motorist turning left into me from oncoming trafffic. I hollered at her and she stopped in time. I managed to smile and wave in order to show I harbored no ill will. Two guys outside the Nissan dealership cheered my assertiveness and I responded with beer commercial-esque thumbs up.

Some of my rear wheel's spokes have started whining again. Unfortunately they affect the side of the wheel that if tightened will take it even more out of true. Nonetheless, at Foster and Sherman, I took out my multitool and tightened three spokes. Fortunately the wheel wasn't noticeably altered and now it is much quieter.

After getting home I realized my body was nicely warmed up with absolutely no evidence of muscle aches. I should go for a nice ride before I hit the lacrosse field this weekend.

Distance Traveled: 25.1 miles
Distance to date: 2912.2 miles
Price of gas: $3.72

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