Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bike Rental Blow Out

One of the best things about my trip to San Diego was the chance to ride Palomar Mountain. The day after I arrived, rented a bike at Hollands Bicycles of Coronado. The plan was to ride an hour to two each evening, then after the show closed ride up the mountain on Saturday. The first day worked great. On Tuesday evening I rode 22 miles along the shore north to La Jolla and back. The next night rode inland. I got about 10 miles out and broke a front-wheel spoke. As soon as a spoke breaks, the wheel starts rubbing. In this case the wheel was rubbing the fork and the brakes. I got a good workout riding home. The next day I was in LA so I could not get the bike fixed or ride. Friday afternoon I took the bike to the shop. They replaced the spoke and I decided to ride up Palomar a day early. Four miles up the 12-mile climb a rear spoke broke. I rolled back down the hill and drove all the way back to San Diego to get the wheel fixed. Tyler, the owner put a different wheel with a new tire so I would have no hassles for the Saturday climb. The climb went great. I was 20 minutes slower (2 hours and five minutes) than when I climbed the mountain three years ago, but I was riding a lot more then.
At the top I ate at Mother's Kitchen--a vegetarian restaurant at the top of the mountain where both bicyclists and motorcyclists hang out. The glass-smooth road up Palomar with 21 switchbacks and some very fast esses draws motorcyclists from all over Southern California. In fact, my entertainment while slogging up that 8% grade at 5mph (it ascends 4600 feet from the valley floor) is listening to the motorcycles rip up the straights and knife through the turns--the best ones anyway.
After lunch at Mother's, I started down the hill through some fast esses on the way to 12 miles between 25 and 45 mph without turning a pedal stroke.
Then five miles down on a short straight going into a switchback, I heard an odd noise from the rear wheel. I slowed to take a look and BANG--the rear tire blew out.
More in the next post

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...