Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ride Samaritans

Being the masochist that I am, I signed up for the Tour Du Port bike ride this year and decided to do the 50 mile route. I do about one of these charity rides a year. Last year it was the Tour Dem Parks on the hottest day of the year. With the Du Port being in October I expected better weather and I got it. Setting off at 7:30 sharp, the first leg went from the Canton waterfront across upper Fells Point, around the Inner Harbor, through Federal Hill and back to the National Aquarium on the waterfront. There I got my chain lubed {insert Bevis and Butthead snickering here} and grabbed some snackage.

According to the cue sheet, the next rest stop was in another 23 miles which took me through some of the rusty parts of decaying Baltimore, past lots of barking dogs in greater Dundalk (and I haven't lived in Baltimore long enough to make Dundalk and Essex jokes), and finally along long stretches of marshland to North Point Park.

There I carb loaded once again as I reflected on the advantages of bicycling over running. Primarily that stopping for a food break is not frowned upon. North Point Park was quite large and rather scenic as well as being the general area of the Battle of Baltimore where the British were beaten in the under-heralded War of 1812.

It was those last twenty miles that proved to be the test of my mettle. The clips on my biking shoes had gotten rather worn from using them as brakes on the Bike NYC ride earlier this year and now the left foot wasn't clipping in right. And then I started passing a series of people fixing flats. I was counting my blessings until I heard an all too familiar hissing off my bike.

In one of Murphy's corollaries, I only get flats on the rear tire which means having to wrestle with the chain and gears to put it on and off. I waved off several concerned passers-by as I changed the tube, but when it came time to get the wheel back on, I finally accepted the assistance of two guys that asked if I needed help. Which I am glad I did since it took all three of us to figure out the CO2 cartridge.

After an earlier flat I learned the hard way that my frame mounted pump was more decorative than useful. I had bought the cartridge gizmo in hopes that I would never have to use it, but to my surprise, it worked perfectly. The tires ballooned up to a road worthy 65 psi in an instant.

I finished the last ten miles against a strong headwind and a suspicious number hills. I collected my tee shirt and burrito and hoped I had sufficiently thanked the good Samaritans that had helped me in my moment of need. Now when I pass stranded bikers I will make more than a token effort to check if they need help. And I will keep two CO2 cartridges in my bag, one to use and one to share.

1 comment:

A Free Man said...

What's masochistic is that garish top you've got on. Makes my eyes bleed.