Thotful Spot

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to head out on my Surly today. Before I left Virginia I mentioned to a couple of friends I ride with that I hadn’t fallen in love with the Surly yet — I wasn’t sure I could love another bike like I do the Cannondale.

Well, it’s happened. I am IN LOVE with the Surly. Maybe it’s the contrast between the skinny road tires of a bike that didn’t quite fit me (the Trek), or maybe it’s just being on my personalized Brooks cambian saddle – but whatever it is, today I was feeling the love!

I went out for a short (can I get out of my clips) ride. No problem with the clips, and everything going well.

I stopped a couple of times, once to adjust the %^& platypus. I need to get that thing working reliably before Saturday. I don’t want to take it on the Big Bend trip if it’s dead weight. At one stop I took a photo to show you how visible I am – yellow vest, yellow platypus. I also have a red blinky on my helmet and one on my bag. And if nothing else, my winter-white legs sticking out of my shorts should provide a distraction to the drivers!

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My first Errandonnee was #10. I’m going to call it my second Wild Card. I rode down to the Hotel where Mike and I will meet the rest of the Big Bend group on Saturday morning. We can’t take both people and both bikes by car that morning so my mom will drop off our stuff and his bike box, and he and I will ride there. I wanted to check the route. It was an easy 4.4 miles. My observation: Google maps doesn’t always know what it’s talking about. It clearly shows bike paths/trails throughout a linear park that extends much of the way between my mom’s house and the hotel turnoff. But these are the signs one finds at each ‘in’ for the otherwise lovely multi-use path. A guy out walking told me it was okay to bike on it, that ‘everyone’ does. I just didn’t want to be that person.

After verifying the hotel location and route, I reversed my route and headed out to the east. I got to Harbor Freight for Errandonnee #11. This was personal business as I picked up electrical tape, shop towels, and some clips for hanging clothes to dry. The great thing was that I didn’t want to lock up so I rolled the bike into the store. Despite it being quite crowded, everyone was very kind and helpful and friendly! People held the door for me coming in and going out! My observation: why not roll your bike into a hardware store? It definitely starts conversations!

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After Harbor Freight I headed back toward the house to get cleaned up for lunch out with some of mom’s friends. Along the way I mulled over the names of the streets I saw. Certain names prompted rabbit hole thinking. Examples:

Lockerbie: Pan Am 103

Album: Do kids today even know what that is? Book or Record?

Kilmarnock: How did this classic Scottish name get on a street in El Paso, TX?

Then I realized that just as Winnie the Pooh had his “thotful spot”, I have one as well. It’s the saddle of my bike! Some of my most meandering thinking happens when I’m riding. It’s often cathartic as I work out situations I’m experiencing, or just mentally respond to the world around me. So thank you to my childhood friend, Pooh, for reminding me to keep it simple and muse away.

And finally, on Catnip Street I came across this interesting bizarre¬†intersection. At first I thought it was an attempt to put in Dutch infrastructure for bikes that had gone horribly awry. But I think it’s to divert water. Out here there are no storm drains, so when they get water, they get flash floods, and this must have been some place where they needed to divert the water so it wouldn’t overwhelm the utility at the end of the street. Crazy design, yes?

Here’s a shot of it from Google Maps:

Screenshot 2017-03-30 at 9.38.23 PM

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