|12/19/11 #245 27m 43F|
Stopped at REI on the way out to pick up a can of BigAir (used my last one Saturday) and also picked up a Planet Bike BRT Strap, a reflective blinking LED strap that I'm putting on the back of my helmet. I saw a rider with one a few days ago and it seems like a good idea.
Started riding at the Bastille and intended to ride into the neighborhood and climb up to the Allegheny Observatory in Riverview Park. My initial navigation was poor, I missed a turn and climbed a hill to reach a point at which I could see where I was supposed to be, and inevitably there was a valley between present-position and desired-position.
I really disliked descending and climbing back up, I took it as a lesson to get the nav right the first time.
It was quite warming to start out climbing, and I was aware of my lungs as I climbed the first (unnecessary, wrong) hill.
Once I got on the right road, Woods Run Avenue, it was a more civilized serpentine climb to the top; nothing character building, just a good, long climb. The view from the top was great, and it surprised me how many people were walking with their dogs to the small dog park at the summit.
Departing the Observatory the descent went as planned, it was refreshingly brisk, rode Perrysville Ave. to a steep descent on Milroy Street (first time I remember S-turning on a descent to stay in control) and then via East Street. I noticed my rear tire was feeling squishy and under-inflated, so I decided to deviate to the nearest bike shop to use a floor pump.
I took the Ninth Avenue (Rachel Carson) Bridge to the Strip District Trail, the Ft. Pitt Bridge and Bingham Street to Thick Bikes. They kindly let me use their floor pump and I pumped the rear tire up to 85psi and got back on the bike. This was the tire where I'd recently added a tire liner and a Slime tube in hopes of preventing future flats.
I continued south, past SouthSide Works to almost-Sandcastle, and when I turned north I noticed the rear tire was quishy again. I rode it to SouthSide REI and the bike mechanics took it right into the shop. Several pieces of glass had penetrated my tire strip and my Slime tube, and they said it was time for a new tire. They took really good care of me, I have no complaints.
I am really disappointed in the performance of the Slime tube and the tire liner. It took me three weeks to get a flat, which was not the promise. Every bike mechanic I've discussed this (after my purchase) recommends not getting involved with Slime tubes, for reasons varying from increased rotating weight to the goo not sealing leaks but making a mess of the interior casing. I won't do that again.
Back on the bike and into the dark, rode the Station Square trail. I came upon one fellow walking, I think my blinky blinded him, he stopped walking and held his hands up to his eyes until I passed. I did notice an improved ride due to decreased rolling resistance with the tire liner and slime gone.
I took the Ft. Pitt Bridge, the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, and back to the car. Got off the bike at 6.20 pm, which is kind of dark for riding these days.
It didn't go as planned, but it was a very nice ride. The GPS track was not very accurate, I've revised it a bit.