I again left out 8 to 15 minutes early this morning. The weather was absolutely delightful it was again around 57 degrees. I took it easy on the way in. In fact the ride in this morning was as routine as routine could be. I didn't see any other cycling traffic on the road; however, the rec riders were hard at work on the picnic loop in Memorial Park as I passed by. In fact the only morning excitement happened AFTER I had been at work for an hour. I heard a sudden rush of air and because it was an abrupt out of the ordinary sound . I jumped out of my skin! It scared the bejeebers out of me.
As it it turns out, prior to departure from home I had had a bit of a problem getting the pump chuck off of the valve stem of my front tire . Apparently I had been a little rough and unbeknown to me the stem had been damaged. Luckily fate had it fail there in the office as opposed to somewhere on the road in the early morning dark.
The only downside to having a flat in the office is having to use my frame pump to get anything close to reasonable pressure. Again I got lucky as I later found out. I manged to get 100 lbs and I actually felt the ride quality was better. I might consider a pressure reduction as I usually run my tire pressures between 125 and 130lbs which according to my Planet bike dial gauge is in track tire pressure territory. One thing I had going for me is the Alex R500 rims that come stock on the Sirrus are an absolute joy to dismount. If it were any easier there would be a zipper along the edges. I had the side of the tire open and the new tube in it within one minute. I then spent the next 45 minutes painfully pumping up that tire.
I actually left work a little early this afternoon as I had to stop at Daniel Boone's cycles so I wound up leaving right at 4 p.m. Earlier in the week I had managed to crack the chain ring guard on my '07 Sirrus. I still have no idea how I pulled it off I'm guessing I may have brushed it against my desk as I was extracting the bike from my office. I know the chain ring guard is usually something "purists" scorn and remove from their bikes as soon as they're able (along with the "dork disk"/pie tin from behind the cassette). I've chosen to keep it on the bike. The reason being is I had a friend back in college who experienced the classic "sawmill" laceration and pulling out of his clipless pedal and planting his foot on the ground solidly in front of the chain wheel which proceeded to tear a 3 inch flap of skin off his ankle. With all the up and down action while riding in traffic I go through on this particular bike I rather keep all the original guards. It also makes the bike look more finished as without it looks like it's missing something. Boones was able to accommodate me as they are Specialized dealers and although they didn't have any loose they pulled one off of a Sirrus from the showroom floor.
Once my business at Boones was completed I turned myself towards Alabama Street and the way home. The first leg of the trip was uneventful pretty much like the morning. The ride began to get interesting once I got to the Westview/Pech intersection there I bumped into some bumpkin on a motorized mountain bike. He looked at me and I looked at him and it was on like Donkey Kong! I was determined not to have him pass me (I'm not overly warm on electric assist especially when the rider can't make up his mind either stay on the street and be a vehicle or ride on the sidewalk like some kind of four-year-old. to my thinking if you have a motor on it then you belong in the street and have no claim on the sidewalk) So for about a quarter mile I was slogging it out in the street while he was on the sidewalk and I was able to stay ahead of him for a while until traffic bottlenecked and I was forced to jump on the sidewalk to stay up with him. Unfortunately, this was just after he had passed me so by the time I got to the Bingle intersection the light had already cycled. (I also distinctly could hear him engage that electric motor) So unfortunately I lost the "race"
Just after crossing Bingle I noticed a brand-new white colored Mustang coming up behind me. I knew it couldn't have been more than a few months old there is just something about the clear coat that screamed "brand-new car" it was being driven by the typical young blond cheerleader type that Spring branch/Memorial is famous for. The sort of person lives a chronically sheltered life and while growing up may have rode a bike and never took it out of their neighborhood and pretty much gave it up the minute they got their learners permit. They also got the typical Spring branch/Memorial drivers Ed training where they completely gloss over the fact that bicycles are vehicles. The reason being is in this small part of suburbia the kids are raised with the expectation that they will drive forever. What most of this generation has failed to realize is that they will be one of the last generations where the privilege of driving is certain.
As the car passed me, yes you guessed it! I got hit with, "Why don't you ride on the sidewalk!" in that shrill young girl voice. I found it rather irritating in light of the fact that this stretch of road may be a single lane in either direction, but they are very wide lanes to the point where you could probably drive two cars abreast and certainly pass a bicycle with a wide margin. Also, what I found so irritating was the brazen exhibition of stupidity. Not only did this chick yell this, but she did so just before she turned into her neighborhood!
It's one thing to yell at a bicyclist when you're rolling in 3000 pounds of steel and nowhere near where you're residing, but do so outside your own neighborhood takes it down to a whole other level of stupidity. I gave real consideration and I was sorely tempted to go after her as it would've been fairly easy to catch her in an area where she was forced to slow down to 15 miles an hour to navigate Road construction; however, I figured it was a lost cause. Most people who yell things out the window are pretty ignorant and mostly unreachable. One that is so stupid to yell something at someone right in front of their neighborhood where they can be found is a whole new level. I also happen to know from growing up in this area that most of the young women are very self-righteous and not strategic thinkers. So I pressed onwards and rode home.