It's probably good I didn't write this yesterday since it would have been a string of expletives after my fourth flat tire in a week. I've since ordered a new tire and I'm going to bring the wheel into a shop to make sure that there's nothing wrong with the rim or rim strip or anything else that would keep causing these flats. To be honest, I can't complain that much since I was riding on the patched tube from Sunday- the tube I had to put back after I (1) broke the valve to the replacement tube I brought and (2) punctured the tube I bought from Bob's Bikes in Poolesville. All considered, I rode about 60 miles on the patch and I knew it was only a matter of time. It just gave out on me as I was stopped at the traffic light by the Clarendon Metro. Hard times, indeed. What was once a novelty (the pop and the fizz) has now become frighteningly familiar and while I'm pretty sure I had another tube in my bag, I didn't want to change it only to have it burst again tomorrow. I walked it home. More on that later.
Prior to my flat, the ride was going fine. I prepped for rain because of the perpetual afternoon thunderstorm warning that blots the daily forecast by mounting my light to my handlebars and by moving my jacket to the top of the contents of my bag. It remained rainless, but this still seems like a 'best practice.' (I apologize for the jargon- writing this before a staff meeting)
I didn't hurt as much as I did in the morning and found myself going much faster than I expected, even rushing to beat the countdown clock on changing light at Calvert and Tunlaw. From there it's all downhill, so it's especially nice if you can beat it. Half the days I'm far too slow or otherwise unlucky and have to wait the 15 seconds for the light to change. Which isn't a big deal, but you wouldn't know it by the number of drivers who creep up into the intersection before the green.
I turned onto S without exactly stopping at the stop sign on 37th and a few seconds later I heard a car horn, that I think came from a blue sedan stopped on S, that soon thereafter started traveling in my direction. I don't think it was because of me, but I rode the next few blocks paranoically checking back over my shoulder, planning out what I would say if confronted. I think I settled on "sorry" which is to the point and, I suppose, slightly disarming. Of course, while I was thinking about this hypothetical confrontation, I was doing my best to pedal away from it and hopefully avoid it. Nothing came of it.
Bumpy on 34th. I was worried about a pinch flat. Good thing that didn't happen.
At certain intersections, I like to move over into the crosswalk once the light changes in order to give the cars behind me a chance to pass. I normally do this at Nash and Lee Highway because Nash narrows on account of the on-street parking and I'd rather just let the cars go by where I can give them plenty of room rather than have them squeeze by where there isn't as much. This was complicated yesterday by the guy on the bike behind me, who didn't adopt the same strategy. We need a better way to coordinate these things. I guess that would be called "norms," but I don't think David Alpert has time to work out all the minutiae. Maybe some sort of convention? Or beer summit?
I saw the hipster coming up Rosslyn hill. He was wearing a Toms jersey and a mesh cycling cap, perhaps ironically, perhaps because it's comfortable. I wanted to catch him, but he got through some lights that I didn't and as usual, he was gone. I thought that I had caught him at one point, but it was another guy on a single speed, who wasn't quite as hipstery. That was a disappointment. That guy was looking down at his tires as if there was something wrong and I asked him if he needed any help. He declined, but then told me to go past him. I think he just didn't want to ride in front of someone with a derailer. A lot of pressure there.
Then my tire blew and I walked it home. I made the mistake of stopping in a local bike shop to see if they had a replacement in stock. I dragged my bike into the shop and that's the surest way to make a bike shop seem to small. There's no good way to push your bike around a bike shop. After being ignored for five minutes, I finally flagged down some help. I asked if they had any tires of my size and he went behind the counter and pulled out two. He said that these were the only ones they had but that they were good. I said no thanks. And then he said "You know you have a flat tire, right?" WHY DO YOU THINK I'M IN THE STORE YOU MORON! I didn't say that though. I just said "Yeah" and left and called the Official Wife and told her to make sure that I never go into that shop again.
The walk wasn't bad but it put me in a bad mood and, while that's not the reason I didn't bike in today, I'm pretty freaking exhausted with mechanical issues and happy to not have to deal with them for at least a day.