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  1. #1
    Ol' Paint
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    3 Bikes, Vanity, Wailing & Gnashing, a Samaritan and Pie

    This does look like the month for the Birthday rides! This post is a little anticlimactic, since I took my ride for 57+ miles last Wednesday on the 18th, but this is the first opportunity I have had to post since then.
    For my Birthday Ride I chose to ride loops around the White Rock Lake trail in Dallas (23 miles) until I reached 57 miles. After each lap I could return to my van and switch bikes, a-la the Pony Express and get to play with more of my toys. The morning sky was cloudless, the wind minimal with a high to be in the mid-80s. The predicted rain did not happen. Perfect.
    I would start the ride on my 1971 Schwinn Racer singlespeed coaster brake wonder, switch to a late 80s Fuji Sundance Juice Sparkler, and finish on my 1968 Raleigh Grand Prix.
    The morning did not begin well. Two tubes exploded when I aired up the Raleigh. Operator error? Evil machine? An omen for sure.
    First lap -- 14 miles on the Schwinn Racer. The sun was still low and casting long shadows. I did take photos. My geezer factor was quite high while riding the old comfort bike so I proudly stuck my chin out and pointed the way with my grizzled goatee. (With the upright posture demanded by the bike, I had no choice!) There were a few hardy souls on the trail, many were peers, so there was a sense of comradery, manifested by greetings, waves and goodwill. I did see two youngsters (30ish?) riding hand propelled recumbents. They made pretty good time and their upper body development was impressive.
    Second lap -- 23 miles on the Fuji. I focused on enjoying the moment. I took pictures of waterfowl, sailboats and bikes, had a picnic lunch of empanadas and homemade pecan sandies while sitting on a fishing pier near the spillway. The vibe was mellow. (For those of you unfamiliar with latin American cuisine, empanadas are a small baked pie, similar to the pasties found across the pond, or the fried pies beloved in the American south. Here in Texas you usually see the Mexican version which is fruit filled. I grew up with a version from farther south, a spicy, meat filled pie that’ll make you stand up and holler. I had both kinds for lunch, savory and blueberry. Yum.)
    Now, the sad part. I switched to the Grand Prix for the final leg. I was cruising along, feeling good when six miles into the loop, I spotted a perfect background for a bike portrait. I’m proud of my Raleigh and didn’t have a good picture of it. I know my Grand Prix is a modest bike, but it has vintage class, original components, and 1968 was a good year for me. I posed the bike, took some quick pics, put the camera up and got back in the saddle -- almost.
    (Insert wailing and gnashing of teeth here.)
    Somehow I lost my balance, and in the process of trying to find it snagged the brake lever on the strap of my helmet. I and the bike tumbled over in as graceless a manner as possible. I landed on the front wheel. I had not realized before that moment that a spoked steel wheel could morph into a mobius strip in a fraction of a second! The last lap of the Birthday Ride just became very hard to do.
    I exaggerate slightly; the shape is more like a Pringle’s potato chip, but equally unrideable. I hoisted the bike, now a 30 pound necklace, on my shoulders and started hoofing it back to the car.
    An old greybeard toting an old bike on his shoulders is a wee conspicuous. Most people I encountered were thoughtful and made sure I was uninjured. I received the occasional commiseration of the “That sucks” variety from others. But one biker in particular, a young gentleman originally from Ashville, NC told me there was a bike shop about a half mile away and volunteered to take me there. He waxed longingly about the trails in North Carolina and I listened wistfully, knowing that the Blue Ridge area is truly one of our nation’s treasures. Before long I was jogging to keep pace with him when he realized he had sped up.
    “You don’t need to run!” he said. I, in turn, answered. “No, but to be able to is wonderful.”
    To bring this tale to its conclusion, the bike shop ( shameless plug --Dallas Bike World on Abrams) heroically went out of their way to get me refitted with a wheel and on my way. I rode back to the car feeling the temperature drop with every yard while battling a “freshening” north wind. Conditions had changed since the morning. The temp dropped 20 degrees in as many minutes.
    I had 10 miles to go to finish the ride and, truth be known, was sorely tempted to pack it in, but the examples set by all the 50+ BFrs who have conquered adversity inspired me to continue. I did restart at the south end of the lake so the final half would be with the wind at my back. All in all, it was a successful conclusion to a memorable ride. I wouldn’t have, couldn’t have done it without you all.
    Thanks.
    "In my cathedral,
    colored glass holds no candle to
    sunlight through trees."
    -- Leon Briggs

  2. #2
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Wow! What a day! What a ride! And a birthday story with pie (well, sort of).
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - i'm going to remember that you did not give up, especially when i'm on my last 10 miles of my 80th birthday ride!

    (which is still a few years away, btw)

    :-)

  4. #4
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Great story.

    And 80 is not so far away!
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

  5. #5
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    ticwanos, great story & great ride! Given the technical difficulties, I'd classify it as an exemplary effort.

    "...but the examples set by all the 50+ BFrs who have conquered adversity inspired me to continue." I agree. The examples we see here do serve as an inspriation.

  6. #6
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    I like the idea of using all one's bikes for such a ride. Without the "Pringling", of course.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  7. #7
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Several bikes for the same ride? A brilliant idea. Way to go. Glad it worked out about the wheel. If you need a Raliegh replacement rim, PM cudak888. He might be able to help.
    Bob
    Dreaming of Summertime in NH!

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  8. #8
    SSP
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    Explain to us again how you managed to get your helmet strap tangled in the front brake lever as you crashed and mangled your bike at zero mph!? That's quite an amazing feat of bike handling. Did anyone get it on video?

    Also, FWIW, if you taco your front wheel again:

    1) it's usually not too hard to straighten it out enough to finish the ride...just beat it on the ground until it's straighter, and then widen the brake calipers enough to allow it to turn.

    2) if you have to transport a bike with a bum front wheel (or no front wheel), there's no need to carry it on your shoulder (especially if it's a heavy steel bike like your Raleigh). Just grab the handlebars by the hoods and flip the bike up so only the back wheel is on the ground as you walk behind it...much easier than carrying.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday, and I hope next year works out better for you.
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  9. #9
    Ol' Paint
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Explain to us again how you managed to get your helmet strap tangled in the front brake lever as you crashed and mangled your bike at zero mph!?
    Believe me, I wish I knew. I think when I tried hoisting my leg over the saddle, my foot caught the saddlebag and I started falling; that dropped my head below the handlebars. When I tried to straighten up, that was when the strap snagged and gravity rules, (you know -- its the law). In retrospect, I probably should have tried straightening the wheel by hand, but I didn't think of it. Thanks for the reminder. Next time (fingers crossed that there NOT be a next time) I will remember that suggestion. I did try rolling the bike on the rear tire, but I actually made better time carrying it. I may be in the market for a replacement wheel, but my beloved got me a truing stand, so I think I will try to rebuild the wheel before I give up on it. I want to preserve the hub at least. It has the cool wing nuts that I guess preceded the quick release mechanism.
    "In my cathedral,
    colored glass holds no candle to
    sunlight through trees."
    -- Leon Briggs

  10. #10
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    Way to go . . . I agree with others, the idea of doing the birthday ride with all of the toys in the shed is setting the bar pretty high!

    And the weather report makes me glad my birthday is in June
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Yet another inspiration story. I too like the 3-bike angle. And using the wind to work with you on that last leg was using the wisdom that comes with age.

    However ... about that temperature drop. I was out today riding in 34 degrees & a light snow. Just how cold did it get in Garland, Texas? I do appreciate that if one is dressed for one temp and it drops 20 degrees, then it can be uncomfortable (or even downright freezing).

  12. #12
    Ol' Paint
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    Regards the temperature drop, I'll admit to being a cold weenie. It went from 85 to 65 in about 20 minutes, but it was the wind chill that made the difference. I was in cutoffs and teeshirt, so it was a little noticeable. I know. I know. 65 degrees would be heavenly in most parts of the country right now, but if I wanted to play in the cold I wouldn't live in Texas. Thirty four degrees and snowing! Brrrrr! You got stouter cojones than I do.
    "In my cathedral,
    colored glass holds no candle to
    sunlight through trees."
    -- Leon Briggs

  13. #13
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    To be honest, 65 is right about at my upper limit for being real comfortable on a ride. I would never wear more than cutoffs and a t-shirt at 60-65. T-shirts are good for me down to about 50. My favorite riding temp is 55. I was out again today in 40 & sunny, wearing a jacket. Got so hot that I was sweating.

    Where I would be having some serious problem is doing miles in 85 degrees.

  14. #14
    SSP
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    Is it just me, or is this sad tale really not very inspirational?

    I mean, it's great to "ride your age", but doing it in "cutoffs and a T-shirt", on a dead-flat MUP, and then suffering a zero mph crash that tacoes the front wheel of a 40-year old kickstand-equipped bike while you're just trying to get your leg over the saddle is not exactly the stuff of legend...is it?

    Good-O for completing the ride, however...and, better luck next year for sure!
    Last edited by SSP; 10-24-06 at 02:21 PM.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Coloradopenguin's Avatar
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    This tale may not be the stuff of movie legend, but it is still quite an accomplishment.

    There are folks who lurk on this group who have sounded out proud for riding 3-4 miles — to ride 57 miles, regardless of the terrain, is a major ride. We should celebrate these victories, big or small, because of the ride . . . it beats the heck out of loafing around on the sofa, complaining about nothing of importance.

    And to judge a bike by its kickstand, or its age, surely exposes some latent envy for just such equipment
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
    but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming --
    WOW!!! What a ride!"

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Is it just me, or is this sad tale really not very inspirational?
    yes, it's just you...
    centexwoody
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  17. #17
    Do I use too many commas?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Is it just me, or is this sad tale really not very inspirational?

    I mean, it's great to "ride your age", but doing it in "cutoffs and a T-shirt", on a dead-flat MUP, and then suffering a zero mph crash that tacoes the front wheel of a 40-year old kickstand-equipped bike while you're just trying to get your leg over the saddle is not exactly the stuff of legend...is it?

    Good-O for completing the ride, however...and, better luck next year for sure!
    Laurel and Hardy would have put on a wonderful performance with this crash. I can just se it now. What a hoot!

    And, Yes! It is inspirational!

  18. #18
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'm at a complete loss as to why doing the ride in "cutoffs and a t-shirt" somehow diminishes the experience.

    Is there a spandex requirement for a ride to be recognized as worthy?

  19. #19
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by centexwoody
    yes, it's just you...
    +1,000!
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  20. #20
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    I'm at a complete loss as to why doing the ride in "cutoffs and a t-shirt" somehow diminishes the experience.

    Is there a spandex requirement for a ride to be recognized as worthy?
    Nothing to do with "worthiness". Personally, I couldn't imagine doing a 20 mile ride, much less a 57 mile ride, in cutoffs. They're uncomfortable and they chafe...which is why most cyclists wear lycra. It's also quite likely that the OP snagged his cutoffs on his saddle when attempting to remount his bike, resulting in his ignominious zero mph over-the-bars crash. Bottom line: lycra's the "right tool for the job", as they say.

    But, hey whatever floats your boat...and I guess it does add a certain hard *ss factor to this tale.
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  21. #21
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Okay. True enough. But some of us are not very attractive in lycra. I'm a baggy shorts man myself. But I don't do 50 mile rides either.

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