Bike Log - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Bike Log

March 12

Wow, good to see spring arriving, finally, after six months of this incessant Northwest rain and drizzle and overcast. Sometimes I think moving to Washington State from Sunny Florida was a big mistake for my psyche, but then I just look around at all the mountains and beauty and trees – when they’re not obscured by rain clouds and such, half the year – and I don’t feel so bad.

I think I can start easing my way off of the Zoloft prescription now. I’ve also noticed that my drinking is down to 4 bottles, from 8, a week. A little sunshine goes a long way toward lifting one’s spirits.

March 13

Inflating my exceedingly flat bike tires, which haven’t seen pavement – or any semblance of sunshine – since that last dry, sunny day last September.

Ready to roll. Dig my shorts.

March 14

First ride of the season! This digital speedometer thingie for the bike is cool! Not sure if it’s working, it displayed 50 mph as I passed cars on the way down the Big Hill on 140th with its posted 45 mph speed.

Rear tire exploded as I coasted down toward Maple Valley Road, wonder if my speed would have gone higher?

Note to self: Don’t trust the air gauge on that rusty air compressor I bought at Goodwill. Also: get more gauze, tape, bandages, etc. Set reminder in iPhone to get cast removed from arm in July. Replace broken bike helmet, bent front wheel, bent handlebars.

March 22

Still nursing wounds between lucid moments after painkillers wear off or run out. Lucky that the state of Washington mandates helmet for all bicyclists.

April 1

Feeling the fool. Pining to ride again! Moved to express joy of bicycling through poetry:

O Big Hill, down which I rode

A descent so fast burst a lymph node

And nearly did my heart explode

O Big Hill, up which I went

My bones now rubber, my muscles rent

To the top of you, I am hell-bent

Big Damn Hill, I hate you so

My brake shoes devoured one ride down ago

Best to avoid you in the snow

Flat rail bed on which I ride

Your level comfort abides my glide

Pants caught in chain, to the ground I slide

May 1

Pretty much over my bicycle phobia after that blowout on the Big Hill. Just need to replace all the damaged parts on my bike. That’s going to be expensive. Note to self: Look into second job. Look into supplemental health insurance.

 

May 7

Bike fixed, rode it to work, all went well. I may need new brake shoes. Trying to keep my speed under 55 mph on the Big Hill ground my brake shoes down to zilch. Initially, it sounded like the brakes were contacting the tires, but then I realized, as the front shoes rapidly got thinner, that the shoes were melting onto the wheel rim, on the front brake, anyway. Like butter on hot toast.

The smell and smoke blinded me and I rear-ended that Corvette at the stoplight at the bottom of the hill. I’ve never been in a Corvette before. They’re really cool! If I’m ever in one again I hope it’s by invitation.

May 8

Replaced brake shoes with large, newfangled “Mountain Brake” shoes. Got down the Big Hill without incident (for a change!). After work I was so NOT looking forward to climbing the Big Hill. Funny how a piece of road that takes 2 minutes to get down takes 30 minutes to get up. Tonight’s dinner: six bananas, three baked Idaho potatoes. Maybe the potassium will stop this constant cramp in my legs.

Hard to move about the house with legs cramped into a crouch. Managed to crawl into tool room to devise a grappling hook of sorts from a rope and aluminum rod. Tossing the hook onto stairway balusters, table legs, etc. allows me to drag myself across the wood floors, so that works. Note to self: pack an extra lunch for the next ride up the Big Hill.

That's me or what's left of me after a little tumble.

May 10

Cramping finally gone from legs! Got up to 59 mph on the way down the Big Hill, must have been a tailwind. Had to jump the curb from the bike lane to avoid crashing into an elderly cyclist I was rapidly gaining on. Or maybe he was my age and the trip down the Big Hill turned his hair gray. His brakes were smoking just like my old ones did, he looked like a B-2 Bomber shot from the sky, trailing smoke on the way to Earth. The curb bent my rear rim.

On the upside, I discovered a handy shortcut through the woods. On the downside, I blazed my own trail, which probably isn’t unusual on a mountain bike. What was unusual was blazing a trail through the woods at 50-plus mph! I don’t think that’s how it’s normally done. Man, that was scary, dodging all those trees and flying over nurse logs and big rocks and stuff.

And I’ve never seen a mountain lion look so freaked out! Almost made it out of the woods but a stick flipped into my front-wheel spokes. Weird how a stick in the spokes just flips the whole bike forward, just like a bucking bronco that flips a full 180 degrees. On the upside, didn’t have to ride up that hill.

On the downside, had to wait a long time for the paramedics to find me. Note to self: Set reminder in iPhone to get cast removed from leg in August. Retrieve bike and related parts from woods. Replace broken bike helmet. Replace bike?

May 19

Looks like biking is a wash for the summer, no way I can pedal with this cast on my leg. Thought about cutting the cast just below the knee to allow leg bend. Could also hose-clamp a chunk of 2×4 to pedal to provide surface for casted foot. Tempting, but shouldn’t chance it. Sweet idea: Fabricate adult-sized training wheels from those wagon wheels in the garage!

Note to self: Look for angle iron in scrap-metal box, and stove bolts for this project. I hear someone once skateboarded the entire Seattle-to-Portland ride. I could be the first to do it with two broken limbs.


About the author

Mark Forseth

Mark Forseth is a regulatory technical writer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle, Wash. His career has centered on public-broadcast journalism and technical writing for such industries as GE Medical; ABB Robotics; Harley-Davidson Motorcycles; Allen-Bradley Motion Controls; Johnson Controls; and Imago Scientific instruments, among others. Contact the author.
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