|Date||June 3, 2017|
|Hosts||Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope|
|Where||Alexandria, NJ; Hunterdon County|
|Who (else)||Caren and Mike Bianco, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook|
[Dave Snope report]
After a one hour delayed start due to earlier showers, 5 DOGS teams started out on what turned out to be a beautiful, rain-free day. The ride took us through some lovely sections of Hunterdon county on mostly low-traffic roads. There were some long hills to climb, but we took our time and enjoyed the exciting descents. We were pleased to see Dave and Marji back on their tandem after a long hiatus and they were welcomed by the tire gods with 2 flats, making up for all the time they had none. We all gathered back at the school and enjoyed a pleasant lunch in the shade. We hope to plan more rides like this in the coming weeks.
[Dave Kristol report]
I was astonished to discover we hadn't done a DOGS ride since May, 2013 (though we've attended parties). Reasons available on request. :-) It was great to ride with the usual suspects; it felt like old times. Except for the part where we're in much poorer physical shape.
Dave Snope wisely delayed the ride start by an hour (Delay #1), and the rain showers that had been present earlier headed east, leaving behind sunny skies with puffy white clouds. The temperature was a little chilly, but pleasant.
After preparing our bikes and socializing, we finally got underway. And, after about 1/4 mile, stopped. (Delay #2) Dave had forgotten something and wanted to return to the school. While the rest of us awaited his return, Brenda noted that the tread on our rear tire (of course) was peeling off the casing. We all returned to the school. (Delay #3)
Mike, with hands of steel, pried the old tire off the rim without tools, Larry produced a 700x23c tire from his car, and Mike installed it, using the tube from our 700x32c tire. We were all impressed with how quickly Mike worked. With the tire thus repaired, we started the ride again.
We were all happily pedaling along the lightly traveled, well-maintained roads when, at about mile 8, I heard a scraping sound from the back, followed quickly by a loud pop. (Delay #4) The rear tire had popped off the rim and, of course, the tube had a tear. (That's with a long 'a', not a long 'e', though the latter would also have been appropriate.) A huddle of all the captains gathered to decide what to do. Can we repair the tire/tube? Do we need to find a nearby bike shop? (Thanks, Dr. Google!)
We tried to change the tire. The assumption was that the tire was too thin for the rim. I had another tube that was appropriate for a larger tire. Larry produced a tube that was suitable for the thinner tire. Mike once again did a speed tire-change, and the tire was ready to be inflated. I produced our pump which... was inexplicably missing a part. Too bad, because that pump had a gauge. Dave had a pump, which Mike used to inflate the tire, judging pressure by feel.
Whoosh! When he disengaged the pump valve, the tire immediately deflated. Mike repeated the inflation cycle, and the tire deflated again. Apparently the presta valve core was coming out when the pump valve came off. Mike said a spoke wrench might tighten the core, and I was finally able to contribute something to the process. We had a spoke wrench in our tool kit.
Mike tighted the valve core, and this time the tire held. He inflated the tire conservatively, wary that it might again pop off the rim. But it held for the rest of the ride. We got to study the backs of others' jerseys from a distance on the hilly ride, but every once in a while we all regrouped. (Delay #5)
Notwithstanding the various travails, Marji and I had a good time riding with everyone after such a long absence. After the ride, we gathered at the picnic tables under some trees adjacent to the school. It would be misleading to call it a "picnic lunch," however. For one thing, thanks to the delays, it was pretty late. Moreover, there was scarcely a healthy item on the table, as the pictures will reveal. It was Mike's birthday, and cupcakes in his honor set the tone for the rest of the food. However, there was plenty of the easy banter and good-natured teasing you would expect from a group of long-time friends. The camaraderie was definitely healthier than the food.
We have to thank Mike and Larry for their excellent mechanical assistance and the whole group for their patience dealing with the delays we caused.