An Accidental Ride

The original plan was to do a long distance ride on Sunday when the forecast was for a clear, sunny day. However, the best laid plans of mice and men …

Lady CoMo was the victim of a car accident on Thursday. She came out on the losing end of the encounter. It was not my fault. Honest. In fact, I was not even on her at the time. Nor was Mary.

It happened in the parking lot of a Toronto hotel where there was only valet parking. Lady CoMo was mounted on top of the car wearing her bras, bat-like. Mary had warned the car jockeys about clearance, etc., etc. It was later than evening, when we got home to Ottawa and I was taking her off the car that I saw the damage. The front brake lever was irreparably smashed.

The damage done

The good folks at Bertrand were open that night and had her all fixed up within 24 hours. They said it’s amazing how many car top accidents they get.

We also had them change our big chain ring. Our gearing is now 26-40-53 on the front and 11-36 on the back. Those ratios give us the range to almost climb a ladder, or to push ourselves all the way down a hill.

We picked her up on Saturday morning, the sky was blue, and we needed a test ride. Off we went to Gatineau Park for the climb to Champlain Lookout. It was the first day of sunblock, riding with bare arms and legs.

The gears were great, and the new brake lever did its job (very important!). We are getting better at climbing. At the bottom of a hill I move us to a comfortable gear and as it gets tougher Mary stands. Then, when she tires, I sometimes stand for a bit and we alternate. Stability can be an issue, depending on how tightly she grips the handlebars and fights me for balance, but we are growing accustomed to it and the climbs are smoothing out.

On the descents the bigger ring is a definite improvement. We like to keep the pedals engaged even if we are braking – it gives greater control. At the bottom of a descent we can take advantage sooner of our momentum and keep up the pressure to get us up the next hill.

The step differentials on the chain rings do require more careful gearing, especially between the middle and smallest rings. I usually do a double shift (i.e. front and back) to avoid too large a jump when down shifting. I also have to mentally keep track of which cog I’m on since there is no flight deck for visualization.

So far so good. I don’t know if we’ll have the legs to do justice to the ride to Kingston this year, but we’ll have fun trying!