Friday, July 19, 2013

a tale of (two wheel) commuting

Yesterday I rode home from work, sweating from every pore in my body as I came down the final stretch to home. I've been able to commute on two wheels all week despite this wretched heat wave. I don't stop pedaling once I start. The humidity is thick and I rode under many heavy clouds--even caught thunder rumbling in the distance--but only found myself rained out of riding once. If anything, the heat forces me to focus on my pace, one rotation after the other. Yesterday I noticed something felt...odd on my back tire. At the stop light I glanced down and noticed that a rock(too big to be a pebble, not as impossible as a boulder) was stuck on my tire. Ah the culprit, I thought as I tried to brush it off the tread with my foot. She didn't budge.

The light turned green and after passing under it, I pulled to the side to give the wheel a good onceover. The rock wasn't a rock after all. What I thought was a rock ended up being the bent head of a comically large nail. It plunged vertical, directly into the tire and through the tube. I was impressed with the exactness of its stab. Pulling it out was kind of hilarious--more nail kept appearing(how long IS this thing?). Finally she was out and my wheel ssshhhhhhed to flatness. I hoisted the frame over one shoulder and walked the rest of the way home.

I can only assume I hit the nail in the bike lane while flying down Forbes amid a corridor of trees and cars going over the speed limit. There is so much shit that ends up in the bike lane: roadkill, storm debris(so much storm debris--entire limbs of trees and busted bits like shrapnel). Yesterday I noticed a fancy paper lantern straight from Ikea laying on its side. Apple cores, bungee cords, lone tennis shoe. Things one would certainly miss if they were in a car.

Today I brought my bike to work so that I could venture to the bike shop and have the wheel replaced. I put her in the bike rack on the front of the public bus and hopped on board. The bus driver grinned at me, winked and said, "If you keep hoisting that bike up like that you're gonna get muscles!" I kind of nodded and took a seat, immediately wishing I had responded with "I HAVE muscles, thanks." I'm sure he was just making small talk but there was a cutesy bite to his words. How older males do sometimes when they see a woman who is totally capable of doing something badass that requires strength. As if to caution me against growing biceps. Or something. It threw me off a little.

My wheel was replaced in no time at the shop--the new one is a bit larger than the old one, adding a surprising weight to my light-as-a-feather darling. It's going to take a little bit more grit to haul myself up the hill but I'm looking forward to it. Even better: it's Friday. Happy ridin'.

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