What a glorious day, with a strong north wind. Departed the Bastille and rode to the Jail Trail, which was in pretty good shape except for the area right around the Jail. Took the Hot Metal Bridge over to REI, stopped to see if there were any end-of-season deals on ski goggles for riding the bike.
A woman came out of REI as I was locking up the bike, she looked at me and sort of chuckled. I wasn't sure what to make of that, but she was quite open about laughing at me. I didn't know exactly what to say, but I didn't want to let it pass so I said, "No really that's OK, a lot of people laugh at me". She said, No it's not you personally, it's the way you people dress. I don't think so.
My self-esteem is plummeting. Two days ago my friend CharlieF nominated me on Facebook as a spokesperson for Surly Bikes new plus-size bike trou. Immediately after that, some well-centered friends started asking me how I like them etc, so they completely believed it. Thanks for the support, guys. Now this lady walks out of REI chuckle-shucking at me. Damn. And I wasn't even wearing my bike shorts.
I've been having problems getting my front derailleur to shift onto the small ring; my prime LBS has laid hands on it without full effect, and I've annointed the mechanism with a can of WD40 with insufficient improvement. Seeking a second opinion, I rode over to a SouthSide bike shop that I've always wanted to poke my head into. Derailleur's shot, they assured me; time to replace it. Didn't have one in stock. Sorry, dude. Ride safe. Oh well.
Departed and rode over to Thick Bikes, which I've never had my bike in the back of before. Asked if they could interrupt what they were doing to take a look. Oh yes, they said. Took it in the back, looked at it. I was really impressed at the way their mechanic approached the question: thoughful, diagnostic, didn't make any assumptions, a real journeyman wrench. Not only did he fix the thing, but he tweaked it and healed it and it never ever shifted this nice before.
He asked me if there was anything else he should look at, and I said no but thanks. When he brought the bike out he explained what he'd done, and told me a small nugget; said the bottom bracket I have on there is probably 2mm narrower than optimal, so if I replace it I should look for a slightly wider one. Explained that the current one is throwing off the ideal chain line for the chain rings. I love this guy.
Rode northwest along Carson Street, crossed the 10th Street Bridge, joined the Jail Trail back out to the HMB. Reversed back into town, crossed the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, took Chateau Street back to the Bastille.
It was so nice to ride without heavy gloves and a balaclava, and to be able to stop without getting cold in a moment. 19 miles, a most excellent ride.