Saturday, 21st Mar 09 was a different day. I went to Ghodbunder Road with Olmo, and on the slope towards Thane just past the toll booths, as usual, I let loose (if you know me, you know what I mean- I stood up on the pedals and let the old knees squeak a little faster). I was egged on by the fact that it just so happened that at that moment, all the vehicles were still caught up at the toll booths. I had the entire road to myself.
As I went up the slope, I heard a loud diesel engine start on its strained climb up the slope. A truck or a bus. I wanted to be on top of the climb before the truck/bus passed me. So, I continued with added vigour.
Suddenly, my rear wheel started swinging right and left- for a moment I thought it had come loose. I ceased pedalling momentarily and things returned to normal. Unsure if something had actually gone wrong, I resumed pedalling, and again, the rear wheel started swinging right and left. This time I was lucky to remain upright. If I had fallen, the bus that was behind me, might have had its journey cut short abruptly. And to add to the risk, I was locked into clipless pedals.
As I gathered my wits again, I remembered a post by Imran about a greasy watery patch on Ghodbunder Road a month or so back. That's what this was. From then on, my ride was with one eye, a hawk eye, on the road surface. On the ride back, there was a similar stretch on the Ahmedabad Highway. But by then I was prepared and wary.
All's well that ends well.
On Sunday, 7th Mar 09 I took Thor for the ride to Bandra. I had been riding Olmo for quite some time. This old fellow must have been missing the action. So he went. And I decided I wanted even slimmer tires. I could tell I was wasting a real lot of energy on the 1.75" tires. Now where to find such tires?
Olmo is great to ride. Thor's average speed of 26kmph for the ride Charkop-Bandra-Charkop has been surpassed to 27.9kmph on Olmo.
Then on Saturday, 7th Feb 09, I started the training schedule of Rajesh Nair's Italian guru. Did 60 km on the 42 X 21 @ a cadence of 100rpm.
Thor now has 1.75" City Ride tires. On tarmac, that makes a lot of difference, compared to the 2.125" off road tires before. However, the largest front chain ring is only 42 T. So, when I tried some hard riding this Sunday, 28th Dec, 08 I realised that while my legs have begun waking up now and while these new tires are a lot more supportive, the ratios to my disposal are a little too low for the kind of cadence I am able to maintain. I started at about 6:30 AM from Charkop, and reached the highway at Goregaon. It was early in the day and traffic was sparse. It was nice to pick up speed and not have to keep slowing down. Flat roads interspersed with some gentle climbs and descents always help in getting better timings. So, I stuck to the flyovers. Climbing at 15-17 kmph was strenuous but downhills at 40kmph with no effort were a great reward.
Steady pedalling gives me great inner joy, and I was loving it. I only stopped for 10 minutes at the Reclamation. Watched the sun climb slowly up the horizon, as kids played cricket. A lone cyclist whizzed past before I could even wave to him.
On the way back, traffic was beginning to build up, and I cheated by letting a BEST bus pace my ride for half a kilometre. By 8:30 I was back home, as the people were just finishing their Sunday cuppa.
Today, 29th Nov, I decided to ride The Hawk and set off towards Gorai. In just a few moments, it started raining faint droplets. The cool raindrops felt nice. I decided to ride a little slow since the road was concrete, smooth and now wet.
As I approached the end of the road at Gorai, I slowed to a crawl at the U turn. At maybe 5 kmph, th front wheel went left as I went right. I tried to steer it back in place and also applied the rear brake. But both wheels drew independent patterns on the road and right in front of my eyes, The Hawk and I were both prostrate on the ground. I knew The Hawk would not make any attempt to pick itself up. So I got up, and inspected The Hawk. The old chap seemed fine except for the front brake lever that was a trifle loose. The handlebars had turned away a bit. I put that right and rode back home, with a red knuckle to show for my ride of the day.
I am now a regular cyclist. I have been riding a 16 km circuit every Saturday and Sunday, unless of course I am out riding with other forumeers here. I just calculated on Google earth, and yesterday, 23rd Nov, my ride from home to Powai to home was at least 35 km. No bad for an old fogey going creaky at the knees.
Brought my brother's Hero Thunder MTB to Bombay from Chandigarh on Saturday. I had dismantled it in Chandigarh and assembled it over Sunday and in the evening rode it to test if everything was working fine. I rode for 10 minutes, stopped and called my brother and told him it was working great. Hung up and rode on, planning to go to Gorai, my standard route now. But I had gone just 200 metres, when something seemed to have started rattling. I couldn't make out what. So, I turned around. I reached a signal and as I started to turn towards Charkop, I realised I had a flat tyre. :D
So, that was that. End of the first day on an MTB.
Well, I have got new wheels and the shifters and brakes are all working fine now. Today, 12th Oct I did another Charkop to Gorai ride in the morning.
After having ridden not more than once in three months, maybe more, I have started what I hope will be some regular riding.
On 9th October, I rode from Charkop to Gorai and back in the morning. That was an interesting ride.
The bike of course needs quite some work. The front brake needs overhauling. So does the rear derailleur. Its not letting me shift beyond the 2nd and 3rd cogs. Anyway, as the road was empty and pretty flat, I did not need to shift much anyway.
Lets see how things go from here.