Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mechanic's Day Out at Lock 4

Mountain biking at Lock 4 this morning was a matter of starts and stops. When I met Jimmy around 9:30 for a loop around the course, the weather was perfect, and our ride began well enough. But about halfway through BLT 1, Jimmy's single speed lost its chain, and we paused for a few minutes to get it back on the cogs.

Then, not even a half-mile later, we were headed into BLT 2 when I heard "Aaaargh! I'm down again!" I proceeded up the trail a ways, but then one of our prime directives (Leave no man behind!) kicked in, and I pulled over to wait. A couple of minutes later, however, another rider pedaled by me and reported that someone had broken a chain. I rode back to the entrance to BLT 2, and sure enough... chain down.

Lock 4 First Attempt

Map created by EveryTrail: Travel Community

We fiddled around for a while and figured out that (a) my extra link was the wrong size and (b) Jimmy was going home unless we could locate a single-speed replacement link. As I pedaled back to the parking lot to check, Jimmy began the slow walk of shame—a walk to which I am no stranger. At first, I didn't think we were going to have any luck finding extra chain, but finally, we located a single speeder with a few links. After considerably more finagling, we were back in business.

On our second attempt, however, I wound up with a lot of starts and stops myself. My Marin began emitting a sporadic popping noise, and despite all my attempts to isolate the source, I was never able to figure out exactly where the sounds originated. I got so obsessed with my investigative work that I crashed off-trail at one point. No substantial injuries to report. Just frustrations. However, if this link is any indicator, a crank or pedal is the likely culprit.

Lock 4 Second Attempt

Map created by EveryTrail: Travel Community

Because of the repair time and because of my own frequent diagnostic delays, I had to bug out before completing a full loop. Considering my short-winded physical condition, however, an early retirement was somewhat welcome. One lesson from today: I definitely need to get out and ride more. All told, I covered about 5.5 miles according to the Garmin, but I was not riding with any speed or energy.

Side note: I've often wondered if turkeys live over in the Lock 4 area. We see a lot of deer, but until today, no turkeys. On the way home, I spied and photographed a big flock (30 birds or more) in a front yard near the park. My guess is that the birds reside in the woods close to Lock 4 but that the frequent bicycle traffic keeps them away from the trails.

Photobucket Photobucket
Photobucket Photobucket

No comments: