Slow Bleed

I could hear the air hiss out of the tube. I pumped it up a bit more. I knew it would hold sufficient air for the ride, but would be flat the next day. It had for three straight days, so why should today be any different?
The bike was filthy.
The road grit would make horrible noises as the bottom bracket's wavy washer ground it against crankset. It was kinda embarrassing for the first 100 feet or so, until the rain washed out the sand, moose carcass, or whatever else was lodged in there. The top half of the frame tubes were spotless, washed clean as the bike sat on the roof rack by the steady rain. The bottom half of the tubes looked like a grisly crime scene.
The brake tracks on the wheels were liberally coated, adding an unpleasant sonic component to the slowing experience.
The drivetrain was about the cleanest part of the bike, and even there I had some regrets about my lack of attention.
I knew that any attempt to clean the bike would be an effort in futility. 20 feet into a ride and you would never know I even tried. In this kind of weather, I just end up knocking off the big chunks, then clean and lube the chain. Day after day.
When the weather is like this, when maintenance is more important than ever, I completely fall down on the job. All I want when I get off the bike is a hot shower and my fleece sweat pants. I don't want to be standing outside, in the rain, with a running hose and soapy scrub brush cleaning my bike. One of my Aleut neighbors is usually watching this spectacle while chain-smoking, protected and dry under their porch. Stupid white man.
My ride started off with a soaking mist and intermittent drops that you really couldn't call rain. It felt colder than the temperature suggested, and the occasional whiff of wood smoke from someone's fireplace made me long for my fleece sweat pants. I kept pedaling. I rode my planned loop at a sub-moderate pace, lacking enthusiasm for anything more. My rain jacket and usual rain attire kept me more or less at a comfortable temperature, but eventually I was mostly soaked. Embrace the suck and keep riding.
I was 3/4 of the way done when the skies opened up. I kept riding. I almost t-boned a car when it lurched through a stop sign in front of me. My rain gear is offensively bright, so I don't blame him. Perhaps I should chose something that blends in more. I kept riding.
I rode back to my car, threw the wet and dirty bike on the roof rack, and squished my soggy chamois into the driver's seat. I picked up my son from daycare, then fought traffic that was snarled by all of that water falling from the skies. The same people that will drive 70MPH through a blizzard can't deal with a little rain.
When I got home, I handed off the baby to one of his siblings and washed the bike in the cold rain. The neighbor watched, chain-smoked, and judged my lifestyle choices. Once the bike was as presentable as I was willing to make it at the time, I cleaned and lubed the chain, then parked the bike in the garage to drip-dry. I took a long, hot shower, dressed, and was out the door for a family night at the kids' school.
The tube did not get changed. It still leaks.
I'll deal with that later.


  1. getting chilly out there. Good stuff/ Just imagine your in Belguim/ :-)

  2. I have to ration the amount daydreaming I do about riding in Belgium, because that's my default mode when I'm stuck on the trainer all winter watching old videos of de Ronde or Roubaix. For now, I have to remember I have a choice between riding on the road and riding on the trainer. I won't have that in a little while.


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