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The 2023 How Was Your Commute? Thread

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The 2023 How Was Your Commute? Thread

Old 10-12-23, 11:09 AM
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Working from home today but finally pushed myself to get out on the bike at lunchtime. I rode 3 miles to pick up a rice bowl and stopped by the library to return a book and pick up my holds. Only thing is I forgot to bring the right set of keys with me and couldn't lock up my bike so I had to stay close by and looped the chain around as if it was locked.
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Old 10-17-23, 08:42 AM
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Got surprised by a late work assignment yesterday, so instead of riding home in the middle of the afternoon and making time up WFH, I left a half hour before sunset.

Chilly for sure, and I made it close to downtown with all those street lights before it got dark. Glad for my dyno light, it lit up the road the last 20 minutes. I tried to turn on the blinky to supplement my tail light (I think the standlight is toast), but lithium batteries don't hold a charge for 6 months. It was pretty dark by the time I got home. Did I mention I love the always-there dyno light?

BTW, where is fall? Looks like we're going to get one of those autumns where the leaves turn at dusk one day and fall down that night.
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Old 10-19-23, 09:23 AM
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Cool ride in, blinding sun at points where I could barely see the trail. Saw a coyote. Next week, after a really pleasant fall so far, temps take a dive, and maybe we'll even see snow.
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Old 10-20-23, 09:28 AM
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Alright, one last kick at the can before I sign off until spring/summer. I'm not completely ruling out another bike commute between now and then, but I know me, and I know it's unlikely. Crappy weather is coming next week and looks like it'll be here for a while, so then I retreat to my stationary bike in the basement for exercise. No, I'm not on Zwift.

Cool morning, but clear and calm. I reverted to the dirt trail that I've complained about several times on this thread. I got a late start due to having to do some emergency server maintenance from home that set me back 45 minutes. That counts as time worked, but I still didn't want to delay getting to the office, so I took the shortcut. Probably take the shortcut home too.

So that's it from me for now. I'll pop in once in a while to read and catch up, but otherwise, happy commuting everyone, and see you next year!
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Old 10-26-23, 08:07 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1764:

Google said there was a 35% chance of rain today. As I was packing last night I wasn't sure what bike to ride and therefore which bag to pack. I much prefer my road bike, but if it was raining I would want to take the hybrid with a rack and fenders. I wound up packing my backpack for the road bike, but left my waterproof Ortlieb pannier bag sitting next to it on the kitchen counter. I figured I'd make it a game-time decision.

When I got up this morning and looked out the window, everything was dry. I figured I would be taking the road bike as planned. A half an hour later as I was getting ready to leave, it started raining. So I transferred everything into my Ortlieb bag and took the hybrid bike. It rained steady the whole 8 miles to work, and is still raining an hour later as I type this.

The temp was pretty darn warm for a late-October morning in South Dakota: 57° F. My rain resistant jacket is too warm for upper 50s, but the temp was a little too cool to wear just a t-shirt. I wound up wearing a plain cotton sweatshirt over my t-shirt. That's not the most ideal rain gear, but I survived. It got pretty soaking wet by the time I arrived at the office, but temperature wise it felt about perfect. Hopefully it will dry some before I need to ride across town to a client over lunch. If it's not dry, and/or it's still raining, I may reschedule things and stay at our office all day. We'll see.

Because of the unusually warm fall we've been having, the trees are about a month late on changing colors and dropping leaves. They're finally doing both. Usually by November most of the leaves have fallen and I've got the majority of them cleaned up out of my yard. This year I've yet to even start raking.

So, back up a couple days to Tuesday. I didn't post this then but it's an interesting bicycle commuting story: as I was riding across town over lunch, as I often do when I change physical work locations, I made a detour to swing by the pharmacist and pick up a prescription for my son. As I was riding from there to the client, I decided to take a shortcut to avoid having to ride a couple extra blocks due to one-way streets. There is an alley that is only about 40 feet long, and is very narrow. Basically it's just a paved area between two buildings. In order to cut through the block I ride through the parking lot of one of the buildings, take a sharp right turn to pass between the back sides of two buildings, then take another sharp left into the parking lot of the other building.

As I came around the corner to ride through the "alley" I suddenly encountered a guy lying on his back in the middle of the one-lane path. He was motionless, and looked pretty rough. I initially thought he was dead. There was a lady who looked nearly as rough trying to rouse the guy. She was cursing at him and smacking him.

I am ashamed to admit my first reaction was to keep riding and not get involved. I got to the end of the second parking lot when the conviction got too great, so I turned around and went back. I called 911 and reported the situation, then stuck around until the police arrived. By the time the cop got there the guy was kind of sitting up, so I knew he wasn't dead. I explained the situation to the cop and asked if she needed anything else from me. She said she didn't, so I then continued on the ride to the client.

Later I looked up the police call log information and saw that they transported the guy to our city's behavioral health triage center, which happened to be about three blocks away. I'm guessing he was so inebriated (alcohol or some other chemical) that he passed out in the middle of the road. Hopefully the triage center can get him the help he needs.
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Old 10-27-23, 07:17 AM
  #256  
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1765:

I definitely do not have my winter skin yet this season.

Temps this week have been in the 50s and 60s up until this morning. Today I woke up to 28°F air temp and a 30+ mph north wind. First hard freeze of the season.

I wore my balaclava, which usually I don't pull out until closer to 20°F, but because of the wind I made an exception. I'm glad I did. I had to ride straight into it the gale the whole 4.25 miles to the client's office. I'm not sure what the wind chill was, but definitely cold.

I took the road bike. It had rained well into the night, but when the wind picked up it quickly dried everything out. The pavement was mostly dry on the way to work, with only puddles here and there in the low spots. I hit a frozen spot hiding under some leaves and had my wheels slide out from under me, but thankfully kept the bike upright. It was enough to get the adrenaline going, though.

Temps are supposed to continue south, and we should see the teens next week. Tomorrow we're supposed to get a few inches of snow. I suppose I should probably get the winter bikes prepared for the season.
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Old 10-27-23, 01:21 PM
  #257  
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My wife worked in a psychiatric hospital while she was getting her hours for her MFT license. She hated it... they would get these 5150 patients in, stabilize them, give them a scrip, kick them out, and bill the state. It was unfortunately like an assembly line. In a place like the Dakotas things might be different just due to the weather... sleeping rough here is seldom going to kill you and because of that the sheer number of people sleeping rough is going to be higher in the first place.

If I have the time to worry about it I watch the hour by hour rain forecast and the radar and the expected rainfall... % chance for a day is a pretty wobbly number
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Old 10-30-23, 08:37 AM
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Halloween tomorrow - if you are not using your tail light yet, charge it up, put it on flicker, and toss it into the jack-o-lantern. And then charge it up again because this weekend is the time change!
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Old 10-30-23, 08:50 AM
  #259  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Halloween tomorrow - if you are not using your tail light yet, charge it up, put it on flicker, and toss it into the jack-o-lantern. And then charge it up again because this weekend is the time change!
I like this idea! My only worry would be the neighborhood teens smashing my jack-o-lantern and subsequently smashing my blinky.
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Old 10-31-23, 07:14 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1767:

There are those mornings when you ride and think, "Yes! This is why I do this!" Then there are mornings like today where you really question your life choices.

It was a fitful night of not much sleep. The challenges of life kept me from falling asleep until much later than I wanted. Then I kept waking up throughout the night and could hear the wind howling. Knowing I had to ride straight into it this morning didn't bring much relaxation.

When I left the house it was 18°F air temperature with a wind chill of 2°F. Fighting the 30+ mph wind for 8 miles was brutal. It was dark and I couldn't see my speedometer, which was probably a good thing. Occasionally I would have a large downed tree branch appear in my headlight causing me to swerve to go around. Today was my first ride of the season wearing my ski goggles. When I arrived at the office my thighs and toes were pretty numb.

I took the road bike which helps with the wind, but the brifters tend to not shift very well in these temps so sometimes I would find myself in less than optimum gears. Shifting in the direction that tightens the cable works fine (to smaller cogs in the rear and to the larger cog in the front) but shifting in the direction that slackens the cable can be problematic. The lever just swings freely and won't "catch" until I hit a bunch of bumps, which must wiggle the cable enough to work the slack out. Then I can get it to shift one gear, and the process repeats itself. I thought it was just worn shift cables, but after replacing them the problem remains. I've pretty much accepted that it's a quirk that happens with this bike below 20°F.

By February this weather will seem like no big deal. But last week my morning commutes were in the 50s and 60s, so this sudden change to more typical weather for the season is a shock to my system.

When I got to work, a coworker who also rides most days rolled in about three minutes behind me. He is fighting some health challenges and converted his bicycle to an e-bike this year to allow him to keep bicycle commuting when he has rough days. To keep his fitness up he tries not to use the assist until he actually needs it, and tries to make his battery last an entire week on a single charge. This morning he said he drained his entire battery fighting the wind for six miles.

I knew this morning would be a challenge. And I also knew I would be tempted to take the easy way out and instead of riding all the way to our company office, only riding directly to the client location. However I also knew I had some mileage goals for October that required a longer commute to hit. So to remove the temptation of giving up on my goals, before I departed the company office yesterday I purposefully left behind my laptop and some clothes that I needed for today. That way I had no choice but to ride and reach my mileage goals this month.
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Old 11-07-23, 03:17 PM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1772:

You know how sometimes you hit things and immediately know you're going to have a flat in a few hundred feet? I had that happen this afternoon as I rode across town to a client. I think it was a rock or a branch hiding under the leaves. Felt the impact, heard the noise and immediately knew. About 1/4 mile later my rear tire was flat.

There was a picnic table nearby, so I used that as a workbench. Pulled the tube out. Inspected the tire, and couldn't see or feel anything stuck in the rubber.

Installed the tube, remounted the tire and was about to pump it up when I noticed a folded tube sitting on the picnic table. Like an idiot, I had re-installed the blown tube instead of installing my spare. So I had to change the tube again.

Got the correct tube installed and pumped up. Put the wheel back on my bike, and packed up my tools. Happily resumed my ride to the client. The whole ordeal only took 20 minutes, which I didn't think was too bad considering I had to do it twice.

Then, about 1/2 mile down the MUP my rear tire went flat again. So either I missed something in the tire that punctured the spare tube, or the spare tube also had a hole in it.

I only carry one spare tube, so I wound up walking the bike about 2 miles. I thought about calling my wife for a ride home after work, but she's been slammed busy and I don't want to add yet another thing to her list. I remembered that I can catch the bus about 1/2 mile from the client location, throw my bike on the rack and take the bus to about a mile from my house. So I'll go that route instead of bothering her.
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Old 11-08-23, 12:37 PM
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CALL ME CRAZY, MAYBE


Today was a crazy day at work, but one of those days that makes you happy. Makes for a good ride home too. A moment of happiness. And it was on my way back that I unexpectedly experienced another moment of happiness, like the icing on the cake, so to speak ...

You know, after a while you can easily sense when a traffic light will change. Useful for adjusting your speed, optimally use your energy. Sometimes you are superlucky when there is a special button to request priority as a cyclist. (A button with a sequence that you will also quickly get to know.)

So I, unfortunately, saw that the traffic light was going to change and not in my favor. It was a dark, rainy and windy autumn day. I knew I would be just a few seconds too late to make it to the green light. And too late to push the button*. However, I also knew that that button had been partially damaged recently, you often had to try a number of times before it might work. Bummer.
* After a red light you still have a few seconds to quickly turn the light back green by pressing that button, magically.

But today, as I resigned myself to my "defeat", the moment my hand reached for the button ... I got a WOW! A rush of adrenaline. (No, not an electric shock. Imagine that hi-hi.) The defective button had been replaced with a brand new button. And the best part: the traffic light immediately changed to the color green! Had been replaced, exactly today – on this crazy but happy day. Instead of waiting a long long time, I was able to continue cycling almost immediately and continue on my path of happiness.

Little coincidences like that make me happy. Call me crazy :-)

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Old 11-09-23, 09:35 AM
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May have been the last day to commute in shorts and short sleeves, since the weather people are predicting a cold front. Unremarkable, overcast but not windy, so a nice ride overall.
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Old 11-12-23, 02:48 PM
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I just realized I missed commemorating my ten year anniversary on BF. Back in May. I guess the next milestone will be implicit permission to post in the 50+ forum in about three and a half years

So pursuant to my post in October, here's what is going on in Darth Lefty land. In September, we did a big vacation to Italy including a cruise around Greece and Turkey. During the vacation my younger boy (6) started complaining about fatigue and even in little situations like going up the stairs. We had a really bad day at the Acropolis where he screamed and cried nonstop, and because he was dragging we missed a train to Florence when we finished the cruise. At first we thought he was not enjoying the trip and was acting out through his autism. But he got more and more tired and started not eating much, barfing up, sleeping all day. We started talking about neuralgia, fibromyalgia, something weird. We couldn't figure it out until the last day when we found a lymph node in his neck was horribly swollen. We got him back home to the States where he was diagnosed with B-ALL leukemia.

He spent about ten days in the hospital getting transfusions and chemo. Since that he has been on weekly chemo treatments. In the first phase of treatment called induction he was on a steroid for a month that made him hangry and he gained about ten pounds - probably really a few more considering the loss of fitness. He is out of school and has to go to the doctor once or twice a week. I'm better able to WFH than my wife so this means I have spent a lot of time at home.

On top of this my wife had a really large skin reduction surgery in mid October stemming from a weight loss a couple of years ago, that was already paid for before; and we have two large remodeling projects that had deposits before all this came about, so October-November has been pretty tough.

Going forward I foresee mostly WFH for the rest of the school year at least

Edit: B-ALL leukemia is very treatable with high success rates. So far kiddo has tolerated treatment very well. He's in the middle group for genetics and they've not seen any in his marrow or spinal biopsies. But the doctors have to keep killing the cancer long after it seems like it's long gone or it will come raging back. The entire course of treatment is two years or so and there are times during it when he will be pretty sick from the chemo and it will be dangerous for him to get infections. It's still scary.
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Old 11-13-23, 08:56 AM
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Oh man, Darth Lefty , that's some tough stuff to have to go through. I am so sorry. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.
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Old 11-14-23, 12:28 PM
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@Darth Lefty: Strength, courage to you. Thanks for sharing.



Today?
It didn't stop raining today. Commuting through large puddles of water, as well as parts of the road with flooding.
November has been getting wetter in recent years.
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Old 11-21-23, 09:21 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1782:

As I was riding home from the client's office last night, I hit a rock and had what I call a "no doubter." As soon as my rear wheel hit the rock, the impact and the sound let me know I blew the tire. Sure enough, it went flat in a hurry in about 50 feet. I had just purchased some new tubes and had a box containing one in my backpack. I figured it would be about 10-15 minutes of inconvenience, and then I'd be back on the road riding home.

I pulled the wheel off, removed the old tube, checked the tire for anything still stuck in it, installed the new tube and then put the wheel back on the bike. I got the new tube inflated, and when I went to unscrew the pump it would wiggle like it was free of the valve stem, but no amount of pulling would separate the pump from the stem.



I sat there pondering the situation for a few minutes. With the pump attached to the wheel I couldn't even roll the bike. I didn't feel like carrying the bike almost a mile to the bus station, and by the time I would do so would mean I'd miss the 5:45 bus and the next one wouldn't leave until 6:50. I finally did the "call of shame" to have my son bring the truck to haul me and my bike home. While waiting I messed with the pump some more, but couldn't get it off the wheel. I figured I would have to use a Dremel to separate the two, destroying both $5 tube and a $50 pump. That didn't make me happy.

My son arrived in record time, so I didn't have to stand around too long. Once I had the bike home and on the repair stand and with some decent light, I was finally able to get the pump detached without having to resort to cutting it off. What I discovered was the Presta valve had snapped in two. The broken end was still threaded to the pump, which explains why I couldn't just pull it apart. Crazy. I've never had that happen before.

Being a brand new tube right out of the box, I'm guessing the valve stem had a crack in the metal. When I pumped up the wheel I probably put enough pressure on the stem to snap it in half, and then when I tried to unscrew the pump the broken tip would just spin instead of the threads backing out.

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Old 11-21-23, 09:36 AM
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Interesting ride last home last night, right at dusk. I've been ferrying my work laptop so I can ride home in daylight, but a meeting going late put paid to that. So I wasn't quite ready for the light showers dampening me on and off most of the way, nor for the tricks my eyes were playing on me.

There were an awful lot of rabbits and squirrels running across the road shortly after sundown -- only to find out it was oak and perhaps sycamore leaves, dried out and curled up, blowing across the road. A glance into a parking lot looked like someone had gone on safari, only to mount the rhinoceros horn on his bumper. As I got closer, it looked more like an inverted "V" bar, part of a winch setup, mounted about 30 degrees from vertical. And finally, there was a ghostly deer in the dim woods just off the road where I never saw a deer before. OK, that one was real! But at least it turned back into the woods instead of running across the road in front of me -- I guess that's a benefit of not driving a car last night.

And to think that I saw it on Kingfisher St.!
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Old 11-22-23, 07:11 AM
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Usually I am a weather nerd and look at the weather in detail so I know how to dress and prepare for the 6am morning commute in. But, I lazily asked Alexa last night and She said at 6am it would be 40 degrees C. I was like - wow, that is warm - will be nice for a change. So, I laid out my gear as I would for a balmy morning and probably warmer afternoon ride back. But as I opened the garage door and started out I thought it seemed a lot chillier than 40? I froze my butt off - it was actually 24 C not 40. I am not sure what weather She was using but Alexa pulled a good one on me. Another winter commuting lesson learned.
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Old 11-23-23, 08:34 AM
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@Darth Lefty, I'll be thinking of you. It's terribly hard when your own kid is seriously sick. I'm glad his prognosis is good, but man, that's hard. I wish good healing to your wife, too.
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“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

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Old 11-28-23, 03:18 AM
  #271  
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Darth Lefty That's such a tough year you've had. Wishing you all the best!
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Old 11-28-23, 08:33 AM
  #272  
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1785:

Over the weekend we got about 1/4" of snow on top of a thin layer of ice, which made the roads really slick. I assumed I would have to pull my winter bike with studded tires out of storage and get it tuned up for Monday's commute. Unfortunately, due to some other serenity consuming events that happened this weekend, I never got around to prepping the winter bike. By Monday morning enough of the snow and ice had melted that I felt comfortable riding my hybrid bike and just dodging the ice patches.

This morning (Tuesday) the ice was 95% clear, so I took the road bike. The temp was 14°F, but there was barely any wind. I'm slowly donning my winter skin. My legs and feet were pretty numb by the time I made it the 8 miles to the office, but the rest of me wasn't doing too bad.

There was a full moon this morning, and it was as bright of a moon as I've probably ever seen. There were no clouds in the sky and the moonlight lit up the MUP pretty well. Too bad I only encountered one other person out enjoying the moonlight on the MUP.

My cut-off for switching from glasses to goggles is 20°F, which meant this morning I was wearing goggles. Unfortunately, when I wear goggles I don't have my "take a look" mirror available. Riding in traffic without a mirror is much more harrowing than riding with one. I crossed one intersection and began to signal for my left turn which happens immediately after I cross, when suddenly a car sped by me on the left side. I was fully in the lane which meant they deliberately chose to pass me in the intersection. I would have seen it happening with my mirror. With the goggles it was a sudden surprise.

There's a part of my commute where I have to cross one of the busiest roads in the state. This intersection is controlled by stoplights but for some reason, this morning they were in flashing mode. I don't think I've ever seen this intersection in flashing mode, even in the middle of the night. The street I was on had the flashing red light, and the busy street I was trying to cross had the flashing yellow. Given the amount of traffic on the road I was crossing and the fact that they didn't have to stop for the flashing yellow light meant that I stood at the intersection for quite a while hoping for a break in traffic. Eventually I realized the break wasn't going to happen, so I had to play Frogger and do some dicey moves to get across. I hope they have the lights repaired by the time I leave the office.

The hot shower after I arrived at work felt glorious. I was five minutes late getting to my desk because I was thoroughly enjoying the warmth.
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Old 11-28-23, 10:20 AM
  #273  
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Brrr!

Temperature dropped about 15 degrees since last week, so I had my first frosty commute of the year. Took about 15 minutes extra to leave the house so I could find all my warm cycling clothes. After that, it was just another (fine, sunny) day riding to work.

Need to do it more, though. My knee gave me trouble climbing the stairs -- after one flight I gave up and took the elevator. But after a nice warm shower, no problems.
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Old 11-29-23, 09:20 AM
  #274  
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man
Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1782:

As I was riding home from the client's office last night, I hit a rock and had what I call a "no doubter." As soon as my rear wheel hit the rock, the impact and the sound let me know I blew the tire. Sure enough, it went flat in a hurry in about 50 feet. I had just purchased some new tubes and had a box containing one in my backpack. I figured it would be about 10-15 minutes of inconvenience, and then I'd be back on the road riding home.

I pulled the wheel off, removed the old tube, checked the tire for anything still stuck in it, installed the new tube and then put the wheel back on the bike. I got the new tube inflated, and when I went to unscrew the pump it would wiggle like it was free of the valve stem, but no amount of pulling would separate the pump from the stem.



I sat there pondering the situation for a few minutes. With the pump attached to the wheel I couldn't even roll the bike. I didn't feel like carrying the bike almost a mile to the bus station, and by the time I would do so would mean I'd miss the 5:45 bus and the next one wouldn't leave until 6:50. I finally did the "call of shame" to have my son bring the truck to haul me and my bike home. While waiting I messed with the pump some more, but couldn't get it off the wheel. I figured I would have to use a Dremel to separate the two, destroying both $5 tube and a $50 pump. That didn't make me happy.

My son arrived in record time, so I didn't have to stand around too long. Once I had the bike home and on the repair stand and with some decent light, I was finally able to get the pump detached without having to resort to cutting it off. What I discovered was the Presta valve had snapped in two. The broken end was still threaded to the pump, which explains why I couldn't just pull it apart. Crazy. I've never had that happen before.

Being a brand new tube right out of the box, I'm guessing the valve stem had a crack in the metal. When I pumped up the wheel I probably put enough pressure on the stem to snap it in half, and then when I tried to unscrew the pump the broken tip would just spin instead of the threads backing out.

I did exactly that to a presta tube about a month ago. Except my clamp-on pump was able to release the broken stem piece. But I still wound up making the call of shame to have a new tube delivered.

Next time I'll be more careful with the valve stem, eh?
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Old 11-29-23, 09:28 AM
  #275  
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We got around 4" of snow this weekend. I was focused on house projects and forgot to swap on my studded tires & bar mitts. Without the tires, and needing to haul 500# of construction supplies, I managed to talk myself out of riding on Monday. Same for Tuesday. This morning I resolved to ride anyway, without the studded tires & bar mitts. It went well (the roads are plowed, it's just a matter of dodging the ice patches). In hindsight I regret skipping the last 2 days. The temp rose to 22*F this morning, and I finally have figured out the right amount of gear for 22*F (without much wind). Yesterday, at 6*F, probably would have been fine with just adding the bar mitts. For windy days I'll add another windbreaker.

By the end of the season I might have my gear all figured out...
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