Wed, 20 Aug 2003

As the wheel turns…

I've been doing a lot of riding, reading about riding, thinking about riding, but very little writing about riding.

Jenny has been my constant riding companion this year. It's been a lot of fun. The guys at the office surely don't read my weblog. If they do, my admission that I'm still as much in love with my wife as I was the day we were married will shatter the image I've created. But it's true. There's nobody I'd rather ride with.

Last Saturday, Jenny took a spill. Her first ever as far as I know. We were leaving the Centennial Trail at the Flora Road access. There is a short but very steep climb from the trail to the road. I charged up the short rise. Behind me, I heard what sounded like a cleat coming out of a pedal, only much louder. Looking back, I didn't see Jenny's green helmet coming into view as I expected, so I spun around and charged back.

There she was, standing on the trail, bike in hand, seat pointing sideways, with fire in her eyes. She was furious with her bike and herself. The chain had jammed then come off at the steepest part of the short rise. She immediately rolled backwards and went down, unable to disengage her feet from the pedals quickly enough.

Back on the bike, she did a Lance Armstrong: she surged ahead so fast I thought I wouldn't see her again until I finally made it home.

Sunday, we discovered the real problem. A pin had worked its way loose and was occasionally getting jammed between the chain rings. We made a 35 mile ride to Rockford and back. Just a few miles into the return trip, Jenny's chain jammed hard. Examining it at the side of the road I finally realized what had caused her fall on Saturday.

We were stuck. I didn't have a chain tool and we were many long miles from home.

With my head down, I didn't even see the cyclists approaching from the other direction. When the pair of riders was directly across the road from us, one of them shouted, Do you need any help? Her unexpected call startled me.

You wouldn't happen to have a chain tool, would you? I replied.

I just bought this neat tool kit, she said. "I don't know what's in it."

They circled around to our side of the road and pulled up behind us. She handed me her tool kit, which did, indeed, have a chain tool. Two minutes later, with barely an interruption in our ride, we were back in business and headed home.

To our fellow cyclists, whose names we failed to ask, THANK YOU!

[/cycling] [link]

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