Today we did our second group ride of the season; a bunch of us who call each other fast friends. Yesterday we rode as well – Paul chose ride #130 starting from Mendon Ponds Park circling around for 23 miles. The weather was great, cool not cold and a bit overcast. So afterwards we decided we should ride again on Sunday, today. Paul charged Otto to come up with the route. Otto emailed in the evening that we should do ride #167, also from Mendon Ponds Park (all roads lead to, or rather from, Mendon Ponds Park) starting at 1pm – 1pm so the forecasted rain in the morning had time to clear.
While driving to the park fog descended on Clover Street and covered the park as well. It certainly was more damp and colder than I had thought. I was happy that I threw my winter jacket in the bag just before I left, one great last minute thought, but no hat nor earwarmers, wintergloves, booties. So chilliness was going to be part of the ride. A good group gathered in the parking lot, all fast mile eaters: Wayne, Otto, Dave, Bob, Michelle, Greg, Ginn. No Paul though even after he teased Otto yesterday for not having a ride lined up for Sunday.
Off we are; Douglas and Pond roads out the park and then, and then, huh what? Oh, flat. Bob’s front tire punched on the climb on Pond towards Clover. Three miles done yet still in the park. With Dave’s help Bob performs the operation. A new bike as well and already a flat. Bob’s inflates the tire with Dave’s Morph pump. I have one too in Charles’ suitcase, very good pumps. I’m thinking maybe should bring it on these rides too. In between Bob, Dave and Wayne the outer tire is forced back on the rim. The wheel goes back in the fork and we’re rolling again.
With some left and rights our overall direction is west towards the river. Otto compliments Michelle on her pink pedals. It’s going well, I feel spunky as the British would say and do my turns at the head together with Wayne and Otto. This winter I have been doing spin class once or twice a week and I’m feeling the difference. If nothing else, spinning made me realize how much more efficient my pedal stroke can be. It helps me maintain a better cadence on the flat and also in powering up small hills.
After turning off East River road and zigzagging back to Mendon Ponds we turn onto Stoney Brook and I happily power up the incline. Otto and Dave u-turn to catch up the others on the climb, Wayne and I slowly pedal on talking about PBP, Quadzilla, time trails and such matters. I look around, no one in sight. Wayne and I circle back too to find Ginn on the shoulder of the road fixing a flat. The Morph pump comes back to mind and I am thinking I should really take it with me on these rides. Except for Ginn we all take this to be a lunch break and munch on cliff bars, gels and other much concentrated foods. My dad calls these gels “astronaut food”. When he was in the hospital on liquid food he proudly proclaimed being fed the same food as the space station occupants. Ginn completes the procedure and we thank him for his consideration in giving us a lunch break.
The road slopes down from here. At the end we turn left onto Rush-Lima Road where Wayne has another flat. We covered barely half a mile since “lunch”. Wayne flatted on his ride from home to the park as well. That costed Wayne his spare tube but Ginn gladly donates a tube so that we’re on the go again a little sooner. I should really bring that Morph pump, you know? Wayne notices that this tube has been patched. Several jokes follow about how this increases the weight of his ride. After putting the tire back on Wayne says something like he’s ready to pump while one holds the wheel and someone shouts “We’re Hans and Frans, we want to pump you up!” Universal giggling. Alright, wheel back in the frame. We’re off. Gearing to go because the standing still has made us all very chilly.
Right here we make a right and a short incline on this road. And Bob has another flat. His rear tire this time. Not even half a mile. Bob’s run out of spares. I donate mine but Bob is first intent on fixing the puncture. Not all in the group are really pleased with that extra time investment. The puncture repair doesn’t really work out so Bob takes my tube. He’s pumping the tire with Dave’s Morph and I am so bringing mine next time. Then, bang! The tube was pinched between the rim and the tire and blew out. In one smooth motion Gary reaches in his saddle bag, retrieves his spare and lays it before Bob before even a thought of puncture repair can emerge. We realize we need to consult the Rochester Bike Club policy on whether this constitutes a flat during a ride, will Bob get credit for one or two flats? During all this Ginn has been repairing his punctured tube from 3/4 of a mile ago. Good thinking, at a rate of three flats a mile…
The wheel’s back on, we all clip in, ride! Nothing untoward happens for several miles.
We go down a hill with Otto and me leading. While not very steep or that long suddenly the front of my bike starts to wobble. At the same time I hear some noise behind me but I am focused on carefully slowing down the shaking bike. Not sure what happened, maybe I was too cold and any body shivering was adopted by the bike? Because of that noise I look over my bicycle but nothing seems missing or loose. Turns out that noise was Wayne’s pump coming off his frame hitting his rear wheel. Pump’s broken in two. We’re now close to the roundabout on route 65, via Pond road we make it back into the park and back to the parking lot. Wayne’s without pump, his rear tire is losing air. He still needs to ride home so I borrow him my pump. Now I’ll have to bring that Morph pump on my next ride.