Monday, October 5, 2015

Birthday Weekend And Biking In Tacoma/Kitsap

I got in two good bike rides this weekend. Yeay! I also learned how to fix a bike when there are no bike shops around for miles. And today is my birthday.

But, let's back it up a bit to Friday first. Remember how my bike was squealing? Well, the reason turned out to be that the caliper was out of alignment. I took the bike to Gregg's in Bellevue and Alex spent a good while adjusting both my front a rear wheel.

Alex (Gus) working hard on my calipers
While there, I ran into Francis again. He is such a great guy. Since it's my birthday, I got bike shoes from hubby. JD helped me pick out the perfect pair and covers to go with to keep my toes dry.

JD and Francis posing gangsta style - as in straight outta Bellevue
Hubby kept his word and went biking with me on Saturday. We biked around Lake Washington and stopped for brunch at Whole Foods in Redmond. The weather was perfect for biking - while riding - but very cold once stopping. Hubby had some trouble with his helmet visor blocking the view so he turned his helmet around. 
Needless to say, hubby looked a little special. I still rode next to him - which only shows how much I love him.
Sunday was the "big" ride of the weekend. I always try to get in at least one longer ride on either Saturday or Sunday. This time I did a metric century in Kitsap starting in Tacoma. 2/3 of Team Wheels went biking.

This was the ride. Unfortunately my newly fixed bike failed me for the first 38 miles of the ride. The brakes were touching the rotor. Again. Grrr.

I  tried looking for a bike shop that was nearby and open, but on the other side of the water they still believe in holding stores closed on Sunday so no luck.

Dave had no experience with disc brakes, so that left me and the YouTube video I had watched to attempt the brake fix. You might ask why I rode for nearly 40 miles with grinding brakes. I have no good reasons except what was rattling around in my head at the time. 1) I was thinking the sound was part of the breaking in of the brakes, or 2) that the the issue would miraculously fix itself.

Then I hit a small bump and the bike started making clicking noises, leaving me no choice but to pull over and take a look at the bike.

I signaled to Dave that I needed to stop and look at the bike. Once pulled over at the side of the scenic road, I flipped the bike on its head and loosened the screw below the caliper. After doing that, I turned the wheel on the caliper, span the wheel, and the noise was gone! Just like that. Holy moly, I had fixed the brake. I tightened the screw and did the same operation on the rear wheel. The brakes were a little softer but I prefer them that way.

Despite having biked 38 miles with the brakes on, we had kept an average of 12 mph. However, after fixing the bike, we averaged 22 mph. I flew uphill and downhill. What a relief! I can't even begin to tell you.

I learned one important lesson from this: There's no better teacher than necessity. I was forced to fix my bike. There was no bike mechanic nearby and no other riders I could ask that happened to be wizards specializing in disc brakes.

Bike issues aside, the ride was great. The weather was perfect and sunny.

Tacoma bridge

View from the bridge heading towards Kitsap

Going up!

Little house not on the prairie


Beautiful day


Tacoma bridge doing its best impression of Golden Gate
This route had glorious hills. Magnificent climbs, just the way I like it. This is where I felt the new bike's superiority. The climbs didn't feel like climbs at all. The gears worked just right and gave me plenty of leverage.

I had planned on getting gators on my bike yesterday, but the bike ride took at little longer than planned so I skipped it. But that's the next plan.

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