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Bike Rides 137
Tit-for-Tat, Flat-for-Flat

They’re a month late, but the spring rides have officially arrived. Aside from fairer weather, some of the differences from a winter ride are: A Frisbee gets packed on each outing, longer routes and… fireworks!

My neighbor Hank and I found ourselves in a familiar resting place on one such seasonal outing - the big pavilion at Todd Park. I was sipping a Gatorade and Hank a wheat beer as we volleyed our views on politics, religion and the 2014 Minnesota Twins, off the echoing stone walls of the historic shelter (built in 1939).

Before remounting, by surprise Hank ignited a small, spinning firework on the cement floor.  The spunky little red “Bloomer” arched its way across the concrete to a final resting place against my rear bicycle tire, where it sat for several seconds, spewing flames and sparks until Hank, positioned nearest, finally kicked it free in a half-hearted effort to minimize the damage.

“She’s still holding air,” Hank declared through a devilish grin. “You’ll be fine.”

“May have weakened the rubber,” I replied through squinted eyes, while massaging my jaw bone.

I managed to make it home without significant pressure loss, so we disregarded the incident.

The next evening, I packed some gear and lit out for a quick ten mile solo ride under a threat of storms in the typical April forecast.

Someplace near Viking Glass I first detected the rhythmic hissing sound, just loud enough to eclipse the music flowing from the speaker housed in the water bottle holder.

Options were limited:   A. Walk.  B. Ride home on the rim and risk damage.

With rain now streaming down, the decision came easily.  I donned my raincoat, leaned as much of my mass over the capable front tire as possible and slogged along, depleted rear tire flapping against the pavement, laboring through the two mile journey home in about 25 minutes. 

Later, I sent a threatening text to Hank, which he shrugged off as the usual banter.

The following weekend, in our predictable middle-aged manner, we rolled back out to Todd for a quick round of Frisbee (not disc golf, but the old school catch kind).

Back by the soccer fields we commandeered a vacant parking lot and commenced, both of us secretly imagining that the distant group of soccer players was marveling over our skills. Dollar for dollar, I challenge you to produce a toy that provides as many hours of fun, healthy activity as a good Frisbee.

Normally we’re pretty adept hurlers, but now and then we uncork a real stinker. One of my more aggressive throws got way off course (that’s my story anyway) and the wayward saucer slammed into Hank’s Trek with some authority.

Even under the pressure of my forceful cannon, a Frisbee is really no match for a bike. Following a pretty good chuckle (at least I was laughing) we began to throw again and discounted the incident.

After catch we prepared to mount our steeds and that’s when I noticed Hank’s deflated rear tire – karma had really kicked in. We weren’t sure what caused the flat, but it wasn’t that way when we parked. The only scenario we could imagine was that the Frisbee had smacked the valve stem so hard that it had ripped from the tube.  All I can say for sure is I certainly hope so.

“I better call my wife for a ride,” Hank said, pulling his phone out, as I thought to myself how nice it must be to have that option.

After Hank hung up a nearby lightning strike added some urgency to the situation, so I got on the saddle and galloped away, guiltlessly leaving Hank to fend for himself until help arrived.

It’s funny how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

Traffic Tip:  It’s time to plan those May flower rides.

 Hear the Bike Rides Radio Show Fridays at 1:00 pm on KMSK, 91.3 FM, or to listen anytime, and to see more Bike Rides columns (with photos), visit dansbikerides.com.



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