isn't this supposed to be autumn?
So, like I mentioned last time, I really love autumn. It had been clear and crisp out lately, so Peter and I planned to take a nice ride up in the hills yesterday. It was therefore probably inevitable that we woke up yesterday to 90-degree sweltering heat. How annoying! Hrmph. So, I swapped my T-shirt for a tank top underneath my armored jacket, and we bought 2 liters of bottled water at the gas station, and continued on our ride. I was pretty happy to have the ventilation in my jacket; I'd have been pretty miserable with my old leather jacket on. It was so warm out yesterday that I forgot to zip up the vents when I rode back to Peter's around midnight -- 24 hours earlier, I'd have arrived frozen and shivering, but last night, I was actually still too warm.
weebils wobble, but they don't fall down.
Hopefully, at least. So, my bike is starting to get a nasty front-end wobble more often now. I'd first noticed it a couple of months ago, and in fact, mentioned it, but it never lasted more than a minute or so, and was never consistant, so I rather forgot about it. It's getting a lot worse now, though, I'd say that the bike wobbles noticeably maybe 60% of the times I ride it. When I say "wobble," too, I'm not talking about a "maybe it was just a bumpy road" sort of wobble. Have you ever been to a discovery world type of museum? They usually have a hands-on exhibit where you hold the axel of a bike wheel, someone spins it hard, and then you tilt your hands up and down while keeping your arms straight to feel the gyroscopic effect. It becomes essentially impossible to straighten out the wheel again. That's the kind of "wobble" I'm talking about here. As you can imagine, this becomes slightly disconcerting.
So, anyways, before our ride yesterday, Peter and I were washing off the bikes, and while I was scrubbing off my wheel rims, I noticed that my front tire was worn unevenly. When I got the bike, it had brand-new tires, so the little rubber nubs were still visible. There's a row of nubs on either side of the centerline on the tire; now, the nubs to one side are worn down, while the other set of nubs isn't. I'm pretty convinced that this is related to the wobble (which is causing the other, I don't know). From what I can gather, both the wobble and the uneven wear have about 5 different things that can cause them, from uneven springs in the front forks to a misaligned wheel. I think I'm going to call Spears (the mechanic) tomorrow and ask if I can just swing by and get a diagnosis, but that I'd like to do the actual repair myself. I don't really want to put my bike totally out of commission by trying to repair complex things that aren't broken, so hopefully Spears won't have a problem with diagnosing the problem.
So, for our ride yesterday, Peter and I took Saratoga Avenue from San Jose into Saratoga, and then took Hwy 9 up the foothills until it intersects with Skyline Blvd. Here, I made a little crappy map -- our route was from the little red circle in the upper right to the little blue circle in the lower left (hard to believe I'm not a graphic designer or something, isn't it?).
It was a really weird experience for me. It was about 11 miles from the gas station to the parking lot up in the hills, and seemed about 10 times longer. The first half of the twisties were so incredibly fun -- practicing turns amongst all the trees and sun and mountains, and there weren't a lot of other cars. Then, about halfway up, I started to get tired right around the time that someone started tailgating me in their stupid car (speaking of stupid, we had Peter in front. It was nice to look up and see him, but I really should have gone in front. That way I could have pulled over and rested and let the bitch through without totally losing him). I learned that it's *really* difficult the first time going uphill, through tight hairpin turns in the hills, being tailgated, and trying to simultaneously look through a turn without looking at the oncoming car that's also in that turn. That's really hard! I kept wanting to look at the oncoming cars, if just to get a good idea of where they were in the lane, but luckily my brain was intact enough to start screaming "DON'T LOOK AT THE GODDAMN CAR!" every time I started to (in case that doesn't make sense, the bike tends to magically go wherever you're looking. So if you look through a turn, you'll stay in line. If you stare at the oncoming car, however, well, you're road pizza.).
So we got to the stop sign at the top and I was stressed and tense and the lovely woman who had been on my ass the whole way leaned out of her car and sneered her little made-up face at me and screamed, "learn how to fucking drive!!" at which point I totally lost it and started crying right there in the middle of the road inside my helmet. Not pretty. But I got into the little parking lot and Peter and I walked around and looked at trees and other bikes. It was pretty, but I honestly didn't really feel better until we left (I went in front this time), and I did much better on the way downhill. Peter kept anyone from tailgating me this time, and it was just soo much easier going down, I guess because I didn't feel like I had to keep accelerating to make it up the hill.
So, anyways, that was my first experience in the twisties. All in all, I guess it could have been better, but I enjoyed myself enough to want to try it again next weekend, so that's progress.
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