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March 1st, 2015 - Elastic Ride

"Yeah, Tom, I'm almost ready, though I may have a flat tire in the making. Seemed a lot lower pressure than the front. I haven't ridden this bike for three weeks", I said as he rolled his bike in the shop. Last night's rainstorm left wet pavement contrasting with a cloudless sky filled with the bright blue of a sunny day. Tom was back from a month of sunshine and beach life in Mexico, and although he did have the opportunity to ride a Mexican cruiser, he really didn't add much to his bike legs. We set off, but I wished immediately we'd put his bike up in the work stand as his chain was competing with the spring-time harmony of the birds! No, he was sure he'd oiled his chain recently!

We took Tom's favorite route, which I usually avoid because I knew Tom would ride this route repeatedly if given the option, and so, off to Independence and Buena Vista we went. As we crested the first hill on Skyline, Tom stopped to remove his jacket, and I commented that the tailwind, which was readily apparent when we stopped, hardly seemed noticeable climbing the hills! We descended the switchback of Skyline without incident and rode the rollers off to Independence. Somewhere, Tom explained that today was his twin sister's birthday, and he was riding his favorite ride in her honor! I laughed, and urged him to tell her happy birthday!

We passed the jumbled pile of lumber that not long ago was a sagging barn, and the structure that has something to do with water storage - I remembered that Claudia's late husband (the owner of Buena Vista B&B) had wanted to move it as a historic structure to the B&B, but never got around to it, and welcomed turning off to Wells Landing after reaching the Beacon of New Promise farm, as the pavement turned silky smooth after riding the last few miles on chip seal. It's all farmland down there, orchards and berry fields for the most part, and I decided a picture of Tom riding against a backdrop of the orchards, forested hills and blue sky would be a nice arrangement. I no sooner had started to put my camera back in my jersey pocket, when Tom yelped, and his chain slid out from his bike like a snake!

I coasted past and turned around, requesting Tom to leave the chain alone, hoping that somehow the masterlink had unsnapped and it would be a simple fix. Much to my consternation, the plates had pulled off the masterlink pins! The plates were still attached to the ends of the chain, but the pins were free of the masterlink plates! Not a fix, unless I could find a nail and a rock to drive the chain back together! Plenty of farmhouses awaited our knock on the door . . . But Tom called his wife to come rescue him. I asked him to direct her to the shop as they would be opening within minutes and get the appropriate masterlink, and she agreed to meet us at the ferry.

I took both my spare tube and Tom's and looped them together, fastening one end around my seatpost, and handed the other end to Tom. I gave him instructions, as he'd never been towed before, not even in a disabled car. I was a little apprehensive initially, but grew comfortable enough to regale Tom with the last time I'd towed someone - Katie, an employee, whose freehub spring broke closer to Independence. I'd been on my fixed gear that ride, and we'd borrowed a rope from a nearby nursery to tow her back to Salem, though I almost fell over going thru the first railroad underpass on River Road South where Orville empties in. I did have someone meet us at the bottom of Madronna hill and give her a lift back to the shop, knowing I wasn't superhuman enough to tow her up that hill, especially on a fixed gear.

As we neared the south end of the Wells Landing community, I remembered that last couple times that two dogs had chased us, and reminded Tom, as I attempted to step on the gas! I got us up to 16mph before the dogs burst onto the scene, and I gotta hand it to the long-hair wiener dog, he was capable of speeds greater than 16mph! The bigger dog, though a louder bark, was also older and didn't have the speed the smaller dog had. Nonetheless, Tom used the tow rubber to whip himself up beside me to put me between the dogs and himself! Been a long time since I took turns riding a skateboard behind a bike!

After that, all we had to concern ourselves with was the what is usually gradual climbs to Buena Vista. I was glad I was riding a bike with lower gears, and was able to remain seated, instead of out-of-the-saddle bungee cording Tom to the top! We barely beat Carolyn to the ferry, and it was a quick fix to get us back on the road. I only wished I'd had the presence of mind to ask her to bring chain lube with her, as we chirped our way back to the shop!


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