Saturday came and went, a day full of errands and preparations. Riding for distances other than the too-short doses of commutes have for a number of reasons has been hard to come by of late. Mostly good things, but they all compound to create a certain absence of time.
With Sunday came the rain. First real rain to speak of in a long time, as is the way in this part of California. It stuttered for a bit and then increased as though the weather had to remember how to do it right. I bumped around with a high degree of inefficiency, finding saddle covers and warmer gloves and hats which had been stowed months before.
Hit the road on the Quickbeam, which has been proudly sporting fenders and flaps all summer long. In fact, I was actually enjoying the rain-induced dust removal from the insides of the fenders. But, a few miles from home, the rain increased a bit, and the dampness began to seep into my shoes. Stopping to pull the shoe covers from the bag, I unrolled them to find that “them” was in fact, “it”. Oh, my lucky right foot. Somehow in storing things, I’d managed to separate the pair, which I didn’t notice when tossing them into the bag.
Dilemma time - I wasn’t far enough away to just say the heck with it and keep riding. In fact the distance was too danged short to feel anything but lazy if I didn’t head back to procure the left cover. So, I did. Kinda pissed at my own error, I clomped into the house and found the other cover. Put it on and headed back to the bike. Started rolling it away until the unmistakable feeling of rim rolling on rubber made clear the now-flat rear tire.
And I was just ready to say, “Aw, Chuck it!”
Y’know, strip off the gear, hang the bike back up and fall into the couch.
It’s funny how that goes, and how the minor frustrations of the past couple weeks and days - rushing here and there, but mostly the not riding - just came to an ugly, cresting peak. And all I could think about was that I was about to get wet for a few hours, would probably just flat again since all the glass bits always get drawn out by the first rain, and how it just wasn’t worth it.
Luckily, I made myself just change the tire first. Wheeled the bike around to the back porch, removed the tire, pulled the tube, found the glass shard and got things back together. Six or seven minutes. And sometime in that period, I managed to reset whatever valve wasn’t right.
Realized that the rain had eased slightly. That I got to use a floor pump to get everything back to the right pressure. That the tube had been airtight. That I got to do the work under the cover of the porch roof rather than off to the side of the road somewhere.
And it was wonderful. I’d forgotten how the first rainy days suddenly make everyone a homebody. Virtually no other riders to be seen and few cars on the road. Just the hiss of tires of wet pavement and the rush of air in my ears. Pedaled around to improving conditions and eased home. At a stop light, a driver took a moment to say what a nice rig the Quickbeam was. Kinda tied the day up in a big ribbon.
Funny how close you can come to undermining your happiness. But, it ended up good.