Had the singlespeed out on on Sunday. Though normally I like to get off the trails by 10 or 11 am, things happened had happened slowly and I ended up beginning my ride about then. We’ve been enjoying ridiculously good weather recently and the warmth on my back felt great. Hit the trailhead and got the off-road muscles warmed up with a little around-the-campground loop. Started climbing and even though I felt a bit tired from a full commute week and road ride from Saturday, things felt pretty good. Momentum blessed me and climbing continued well - until I kicked a thick stick directly up into my front wheel. A quick “ping” and loose “clackity-clackity” made it pretty clear that I’d done damage. Sure enough, the spoke had been quickly severed at the threads and flopped loosely. Drat. Just what had I been paying attention to other than not riding over the end of that stick?
Limped up to the next wide spot and general gathering place to find a threesome working on the the derailleur of one of their group - some shifting issue they seemed to have their collective wit around. We joked a little that this was the “shop” section of the trail. I assessed the wobble of the front wheel (pretty much a full stop every revolution), tied down the loose spoke (which I certainly could have removed, but for some reason that didn’t occur to me - too used to popping drive-side spokes, I guess) and immediately rounded off the first nipple I tried to loosen. Ok. Drat again. Took a deep breath and made sure that I used the proper spoke tool on the trail widget, and seated it very carefully before loosening. The front wheel on the singlespeed (a rigid Bridgestone MB-1) hadn’t needed any type of serious stand work before, and I really didn’t know how fused everything had become.
Luckily, the other nipples moved alright, and I found the right balance of slack tension to keep things in line. Backing of the adjuster on the brake lever and a quick adjustment of the brake pad put things good enough for flight and I headed onto the trail again. Made me darned glad to still be running canti’s, and I don’t think v-brakes could have been so adaptable. Rolling upward, I mentally rescaled the planned ride - with the front wheel in less-than-stellar condition, it was not a day to attempt the more tortuous downhills.
Before too long, I ran up behind a group from the Trips for Kids outing - it provided an interesting insight as to a new rider’s perspective on trails and obstacles. I ended up between a few young riders, so I could hear their cries of success and horror as they rolled over rocks and irregular bits. It was fun to hear their disbelief at conquering various loose sections. The speed was seriously glacial, and I found that it was really tricky to maintain stability at that velocity. It’s funny how you get used to a reasonably tenuous grip on the trails, and maintain control more by flow and correction than by steering and preparation.
Slipped by the rest of them as they collected at the next wide spot and enjoyed the rest of the trails network. Backtracked here and there on some fireroads and rerode a couple sections of the narrow stuff. Just concentrated on riding light and stomping when visibility allowed. The trails felt good, and I actually felt like I had some power. So, despite the inauspicious beginning, it ended a wonderful warm late November ride.