Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A too quick jaunt and a way too sticky front shifter

The sun almost fooled me. This morning dawned very bright and the sun a most welcome diamond brightness in the sky. The winds weren't too busy, unlike yesterday, and there was no short term risk of any precipitation.

To me, that spelled a perfect opportunity for a quick trip by myself as Adam had to stay home to take care of some other tasks.

After a breakfast of rice (I am very gluten sensitive so don't eat the typical toast for breakfast) and my usual lethal java, I put on my windbreaker, my running shoes and otherwise got ready to head out. I would only be about a half hour, I reassured Adam, so I had no concerns. It was mid-morning so car traffic would be light which was a bonus as far as I was concerned.

So, I put on my helmet, deposited my pouch (I am not really a "purse" kinda gal) in one of my side panniers, wrapped my pant straps around my ankles, checked my trike over visually, concluded all was well and then plunked myself onto my seat. I didn't have a specific plan for my morning's journey per se but thought I would just head off in a sort of easterly direction.

I glided ahead and then took off down the street. All was well and I found myself travelling smoothly along the street. By the time I turned left (north) onto Bridlepath, however, I noticed that the very slight breeze had evolved into a fairly gusty and brisk wind. Moreover IT WAS COLD so I was relieved for the windbreaker and the thin gloves too. At this time of year, having cold hands is common and very uncomfortable for triking. I have seen bicyclists with red, raw looking frozen hands so all of you bicyclists will know what I mean. It's not the ambient, sensible temperature but the relative airflow that seems to act like a high velocity frozen windtunnel. Not the least bit enjoyable unless you're wearing gloves. They don't have to be heavy mitts like astronauts wear but they should be at least relatively windproof and comfortable.

It wasn't until I crossed Hunt Club heading towards Bank Street that I noticed a little smidgy problem with the trike. Adam had recently adjusted my left brake so it wouldn't sound like a smoke detector going off for no reason and that worked very well I am pleased to report at this time. What I did notice, however, was that my front set of sprockets was in the smallest, lowest setting when I normally keep it in the middle (second) setting. Here I was at top gear for the sprocket and just not hitting those speeds I have become totally accustomed to.

"No problem," I thought grasping the left shifter and assuming it would turn and that I could re-set my front sprocket to the middle ring.

No such luck.

Try as I might - and I did try - that left shifter just would not move. I crossed Bank Street with no problems and found myself deposited onto Cahill. I moved ahead and then decided to pull into someone's driveway to try and see if I could unstick this left shifter. The smallest ring, gears 1-9, is just too slow for me. This isn't me bragging - it's just a simple fact. I use the smallest sprocket ring only when climbing really steep hills (think bike path coming around and towards Vincent Massey Park) and almost never the 3rd sprocket (light speed). For me the second sprocket works best and I just couldn't get the chain back onto it. So, At the corner of Albion Road and Cahill, I called it quits, turned right (south mostly) and headed to Hunt Club Road.

There, I turned right again and headed back along the almost completely empty road until I reintercepted Bridlepath. I got into the left lane at Hunt Club and Bridlepath, waited about a minute (maybe) before the left turn signal came on and then eased around and cycled the last few hundred metres to our driveway.

I was not impressed. I had only managed to put 3.0 kilometres on my trike today. Yes, it was cold and windy but I was dressed for conditions so that shouldn't have mattered. I was mentally and physically prepared to put on at least 8 to 10 kilometres and here I barely did a third of that.

Next time, I intend on doing more than a mere 3.0 kilometres. Maybe later 3.0 will seem like an amazing accomplishment but not today. Still, I can say,

Last standing was 273.9 kilometres to go
Today's tally was 3.0 done
That leaves me 270.9 to go as of today.



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