Wet Sheep and Flat Tires

After riding to the Co-op on Thursday night in shorts and a t-shirt, Friday morning brought temperatures in the 30s and steady rain. Good fun. I do think I hit the clothing selection on target, outside of my gloves. Wool shirt, rain jacket, helmet liner, wool knickers, tights, wool socks. I started with neoprene gloves, but just before crossing the McKees Rocks Bridge, I stopped and swapped those out for fleece. The neoprene was soaked though and not doing a particularly good job of keeping my hands warm. The fleece got wet immediately, but at least kept my hands warm for most of the ride. By the time I reached the office, my hands were numb and it took me several minutes to fish my key out of the bag and actually get in the building.

I will say that I’ve become a wool convert. First (and foremost), the stuff doesn’t retain odor. My “plastic” shirts (that is, polypro) tend to get malodorous, and once a year, Jen decrees that I must throw them away a buy a new batch. My wool shirts, however, can go weeks between washings without smelling at all. My wool knickers (army surplus) have also become my cold/wet weather gear of choice. Once I got to office, however, they smelled like a herd of wet sheep. Not bad, mind you, just musty. A small price to pay, I think.

The ride home was chilly, but dry. I flatted for the first time, crossing the McKees Rock Bridge. I was able to limp to the other side on a slowly flatting front tire and stop along Terman Road to fix it. All was well until it was time to re-inflate the tire. Apparently, my pump doesn’t work anymore. I couldn’t get a good seal around the valve, and couldn’t get more than about 10psi into the tube, clearly not enough to ride the nine miles home. Swell. Fortunately, Jen was home and willing to drive out to pick me up. What’s odd is that in the 40 or so minutes that I stood on the side of a fairly busy road, only one kind person offered any assistance. I’ve made the decision to always, always stop to help a cyclist that is in need.