Monday, August 15, 2005

Monday Musette

First, in response to an earlier comment, I want to say that I generally will not use private correspondence here, unless I have the permission of the originator, or I’m certain he or she will not object. I don’t believe it’s ethical to post private email in a public space.


For anyone wondering what a musette is, it's a small cloth bag used for handing up food to professional bicycle racers. I use the term as a 'grab bag' of items too short to post alone.


A front came through here late Saturday afternoon, bringing much needed rain and some 60+ miles per hour wind gusts. The rain continued through Sunday, and it may continue for some time today (Monday).

Yesterday’s cooler temperatures allowed me to tinker in the garage awhile. I cleaned and lubricated the drivetrains on 3 bikes, the Centurion, the Pennine, and the Bianchi. The Bianchi needed much more work. The fork was bent and both wheels were bent in that incident I covered in “Where to Begin”.

First, a word about the fork is necessary. It was bent to one side. I talked with Tom Brown at Tom’s Bicycles about it. He said he could probably straighten it, but he didn’t have a jig. He planned to measure carefully and bend judiciously. Now, I trust Tom’s judgment. He’s a fine mechanic and a good friend, so if he said he could do it without the aid of a jig, I’d believe him. A few weeks ago, I took the fork to his shop (conveniently located at 68th & Peoria in Tulsa – how’s that for a shameless plug?). Since I’d talked to him, he’d discovered a fork jig lying somewhere under his bench! He set it up in a vise, and slowly worked the fork back into alignment. I stayed out of the way. I didn’t even kibitz!

I owe Tom a big thank you, and lunch sometime. He’s a magician!

So yesterday, I reassembled the Bianchi. I trued the wheels, ran new cables, and lubricated the drivetrain. It was ready to ride by early afternoon, so I took it for a short trip up the hill and back, riding carefully in the rain. I would really like to take it out for a longer ride of a couple of miles before commuting on it again. Cables will stretch and the wheels will probably need some touch-ups. I hate having to deal with that somewhere between home and work.

My original plan was to ride the Pennine to work today, but the continued rain changed that. Instead, I got the Centurion with its fenders and lights down from the hooks in the garage. It was a good choice. The roads were wet and there was light rain when I left home. About halfway to work, it changed to moderate rain for a couple of minutes. The light stuff was evaporating from my skin and jersey almost as fast as it fell. This is one big advantage of synthetics like Spandex or Lycra. Really, riding in such conditions is not unpleasant. It’s a welcome change from 100F and scorching sunlight.

There’s only one problem – my glasses get covered with water and I can’t see very well. Master Po’s voice whispers, “Be the road, Grasshopper!” but who wants to take driving advice from a blind guy?

There are several railroad crossings on my commute, one of them at an angle across the road. Those rails are very, very slick when it rains. I’ve had the bike slide out from under me twice on that crossing, so I’m cautious. Today, as I approached the rails, I had a couple of cars behind me. I signaled that I was slowing, then turned slightly to the left to cross the rails at a right angle – the safest way to cross wet tracks. But the woman behind me must have thought I was moving over to the on-coming lane. She decided to pass on my right, just as I was straightening out on the other side of the tracks! I’m sure she got to work and bitched about the crazy cyclist weaving all over the road.

She’s a regular that I see nearly every morning. Maybe I’ll get lucky and catch her at a red light so I can explain my actions.


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