Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Inadvertent Biathlon

Memorial Day, 2009--Having found that there was bike valet parking at the ViVa Vienna festival, I headed out there on the green Surly despite the rain forecasts. En route I happened upon the Falls Church parade, and stopped a while to watch. Resuming my ride, I was on the bridge over Broad Street when I heard someone say, "on your left," meaning they were about to pass-on a narrow, wooden bridge barely wide enough for one bike. I said, "not on the bridge," dropped into top gear and took off, leaving them behind. I had gone some way on the trail when I heard a faint noise from the rear wheel area and felt something wrong in through the pedals. I slowed down to look and my lycra-clad pursuer zoomed past. Just then the the pedals locked up and wouldn't move forward or backward. I stopped and got a foot down in time to halt my fall, although my Achilles tendon was sore afterwards where the chainstay hit it. I looked at the chain and saw a link had come open, one end of a plate popped off the pin. I was perhaps 4 miles from Vienna where I knew there was an open bike shop, Bikes @ Vienna. A mile or two behind me, in Falls Church, was another bike shop, Bike Club, that might or might not be open. I pulled out my phone and called them. They were starting to close, but would wait for me to get there. I started walking the bike back, then realized I could coast some of the way, kicking it along in the manner of the bicycle's original hobby-horse ancestor. A passing Shriner clown car's occupants, fresh from the parade, greeted me with hoots and howls. I didn't care. When I ride the trail on a weekend, what's one more brightly-clad clown matter? I got to the bike shop in less time than it took to walk, which was the point. Once there we saw that the hook from the elastic lower attachment for my pannier was missing, so I theorize that if came loose and got into the chain, causing the breakage. It was a simple matter to put in a new link and off I went to continue to Vienna. In Vienna, I enjoyed the festival, ate stuff not usually on my diet, and looked again at the trikes at Bikes @ Vienna. I also saw one in use and talked with its owner. Eventually I set off for home. It was raining most of the way home, at a temperature that was comfortable in the warm air. So I guess I could call it a triathlon.

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