It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It’s been a while for a lot of things, including preparing my bike for a weekend away. I took an opportunity to visit my friend Diane in Central California over the long weekend. I packed my clothes and other essentials (which takes much longer than you would think!), dog food, dog meds, dog beds, dog toys, mp3 player, CDs just in case the mp3 player doesn’t work, washed the car, filled up the tank, packed up my computer since my friend would be working one of the days, and assembled essential foods just in case she doesn’t have food when I need it. I have this fear of being without food, you see. So I always have a stash of ClifBars, but when the desire for chocolate hits at 8pm and there is none in sight…..well, it’s just better to be prepared. Last of all, I needed to assemble my bike gear and get my bike ready. As most of you know, it’s been a bit cold, okay very cold, especially for riding a bike. Usually I don’t ride if it’s under 45 degrees. So I packed pretty much every piece of bike apparel that I own, just in case, kind of like the chocolate. It’s always better to be prepared. Then I checked my bike—inflated tires, cleaned and lubed the chain, and then….I didn’t know what else to do. Bill did that stuff. He might tighten a cable or check something I don’t know the name of, and then he put the bikes on the roof. He always had a checklist for his clothes, and he always ran down the list with me verbally. There is nothing like unpacking your bike and realizing you don’t have shoes or a helmet. I stared at the bike for a minute and decided that it would have to be good enough, and then loaded it into the middle seat, both wheels off. No bike rack yet. I was already dreading the moment when I had to put the rear wheel back on. Bill always made it look so easy. It usually takes me about 5-7 minutes to change a flat, and then who knows how long I struggle with the rear wheel. Everything takes longer when you do it by yourself. Sometimes when Bill and I prepared for a trip I felt like I was doing the bulk of the preparation, and sometimes it frustrated me, but now I realize that we were really a team.
On the first ride with Diane it was about 38 degrees. It felt like we should be skiing, not riding a bike. I thought my face was going to be frozen permanently and that my toes might fall off from frostbite, but we managed to thaw out. The ride was beautiful and definitely worth the time it took to get ready and begin riding. One of the things I don’t like about cycling is the time it takes to get ready. For the second ride, we took about 30-40 minutes to get dressed and load the car with the bikes on the roof, plus we stopped at Starbucks. The staging area was about 40 minutes away, so by the time we’re getting the bikes off the roof it’s been almost an hour and a half. I get out of the car and brrrr. Why am I doing this? Just as Diane takes her bike off the roof she says, “Can you get the wheels out of the trunk?” It takes a minute to register in my mind because I’m looking at the trunk and there are no wheels. Suddenly I realize that we didn’t make a list and we didn’t check it twice. She thought the wheels were in the car from the day before. I thought she had put the wheels in the car, or I just forgot about them completely. I’m not sure which. Regardless, it is my fault since I took the wheels out of the car the night before. I didn’t think they would be safe. And then we had that moment--the moment when you decide whether to be mad or to laugh. We laughed. And we’re still laughing. It's been a while since I laughed that hard, and a while since I forgot something so significant for a ride.
At this point, it is too late in the day to go home and ride, so we go to the bike shop instead. When the guy at the counter says, “Looks like you’ve been out riding,” Diane replies without missing a beat, “Yeah.” After all, he didn’t say “today” and we had ridden the day before. Next time we’ll have a list and we’ll check it twice. As a team, I don't think we'll be forgetting any gear, especially the wheels, at least not for a while.