Winter Commute Challenge – Week 7 – The Revenge of the Road.

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I already know I have a low emotional intelligence IQ (I’ve been tested), but this week I think I learnt I also have a non-existent “The World is trying to tell you something” IQ.

Monday started as normal.  I pulled on the cycling gear, went down to the garage and pulled out the bike and put it next to the car, put the gloves and helmet on, closed and locked the garage,  turned to the bike … and then noticed that my rear tyre was flat.
I think it also started to rain, though maybe that is just my imagination trying to add extra colour to what in my head was already a fairly unhappy moment.
What do you do?  
I took the gloves back off, pulled my keys back out, unlocked the garage, pushed the bike back inside and stared at it …

What do you do ?

Do I fix the tyre?  do I jump on another bike? or do I just say stuff it, and take the car.

I (at least for the next two minutes) did none of these things.  I just stood there staring at my bike willing the tyre to re-inflate itself.
Which, in case you’re hoping that this might be a miracle story, it didn’t.
Then I finally made a decision, trudged back upstairs, got changed out of my road cycling shoes and into my mountain bike shoes, went back down to the garage, got out the mountain bike and finally set off to work.
That night I decided to take advantage of having a mountain bike and instead of my usual route, I jumped onto the Clarence Foreshore Trail, near Bellerive Beach, and followed that around to Tranmere and from there sort of, kind of, took a short cut through the trails over the Rokeby Hills.
That went well, albeit with the caveat that my shortcut added about 45 minutes to what is usually a one hour ride because I got completely turned around and lost up in those hills due to new subdivisions and tracks on maps not existing on the ground.

Then I got lost in Rokeby as well.

It also definitely, 100% definitely, poured down on the way home because I remember getting home cold and wet and not in the mood to repair my flat road bike tyre.
This is why I also commuted into work on Tuesday with my mountain bike, which was going splendidly until I was on my way home … and my front tyre punctured (but resealed) going down Rosny Hill almost sending me sliding across the road after going around a corner a bit too fast and almost losing the front wheel.
Fortunately, my mountain bike is tubeless, so all I had to do was reinflate it and let the pressure do the rest.
Unfortunately, the only pump I had with me was one of those tiny little pocket pumps, so it was 10 minutes and 3,320 pumps later before I was back on my way home.  I also decided to skip a second attempt at the Tranmere – Rokeby connection due to my tyre problems.
Wednesday, I’d volunteered to take the dogs to the groomers and go into work a bit late and Thursday I arranged to work from home in the afternoon and monster sit the kids who are on school holidays, meaning no riding on those days.
This brought me into Friday on a score of two days ridden, two days missed.

Having the afternoon off on Thursday did mean I finally spent the required 5 minutes needed to change out my flat road bike tube (turned out the tube had split at the valve stem so no repeat puncture problems) meaning that I could do a fast commute into work.

This was good as Friday was cold, wet and freezing.
So I got the bike out (I even checked that the tyres were inflated) and then jumped on, turned on strava and … WTF?

Strava had updated it’s iOS App to something new called “Strava Live” overnight, and it was all different and promising to give me real time this and real time that and all I was thinking is I DON’T WANT THAT AS I HAVE LIMITED MONTHLY DOWNLOAD LIMITS!!!  I just want to ride to work using the GPS on the phone and then upload my data.

So, in the rain and getting increasingly colder I searched around in the strange new App trying to find a setting, somewhere, which would stop it from chewing up all my bandwidth.  Problem is I never found such a setting and after a few minutes just thought “gosh darn it, I’ll sort this out at work” and in a very negative frame of mind towards strava, I set off riding …

A hundred metres down the road, I knew something was wrong as the tyre was plop, plop, plop, plopping down the road at every revolution of the wheel and a closer examination showed that my repaired tyre hadn’t seated properly and there was a big bulge right near the valve.


So, off the bike I went and, in the rain, I walked back to the house, unlocked the garage and then pfaffed around for 10 minutes trying to get the tube to reseat.
Which of course it didn’t.
So, back upstairs, change the cycling shoes, back on the mountain bike and off to work I went.
It truly was an unfun day for cycling, demonstrated by the fact that when I pulled into work just before 9am, the bike room was still practically empty and the change room looked like it hadn’t yet been used.
Still, I did the final slog home on Friday night, meaning yet another week to me in the cycle challenge!

That’s five weeks to me, two weeks to winter, and if my memory serves me right, that’s 18 cycling days to 12 misses.
But probably the bit I’m most pleased about … on Wednesday and Thursday when I didn’t cycle in … I really missed it, and that’s a good thing. 

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