Early Season Ride and a Damsel in Distress

The Wasatch Mountains from the Jordan Creek Trail

The Wasatch Mountains from the Jordan Creek Trail

After a long Iowa winter, I spent four days in Salt Lake City this week. My first ride of the season got cut short by rain so I only got in about 5 miles. The next two days I was busy after work, so I was looking forward to Thursday, the forecast called for 58 degrees and a slight breeze. After work, I bought some energy bars, hurried back to my hotel, and got on the bike. Originally, I thought I would only ride a few miles (10-12). At five miles I stopped at a park bench, I was tired and my legs were stiff — I thought about turning around. But it was such a beautiful day with the snow covered Wasatch Mountains in the background, I decided to continue riding.

Long shadows near sunset

Long shadows near sunset

I must have gotten my second wind because I just kept on riding. I was riding North on the Jordan River Trail. After about 6 miles the trail had several at grade road crossings, all of them were well-marked and maintained. Drivers were exceptionally courteous along the way. At one point I was stopped at a crosswalk taking a drink when a driver stopped at a green light to wave me through. I felt a little guilty because I was not really even waiting for the light. I experienced the same thing when riding in an on-street bike lane. Even though it was not my turn, drivers would wave for me to go first. :)

I really felt  good on the bike. Since it is so early in the season I was pleasantly surprised. Eventually I started seeing signs along the trail that said Cycle the City, I decided to follow them and they led to a bike lane on a nice wide street leading into downtown Salt Lake City. On my next trip I’ll have to explore more. I could see that the sun was beginning to drop down just above the mountains. The shadows were getting long and I was wearing a long sleeve Under Armour shirt under a short sleeve jersey. I didn’t have a jacket so I knew I had better turn back before it got chilly.

My 'old school' frame pump

My ‘old school’ frame pump

It was on the way back that I ran into a damsel in distress. I saw the universal cyclist damsel in distress sign. That is an upside down bicycle next to a very attractive young lady wearing Lycra and frowning. I am not really sure how old she was, I would guess between 15 and 30 but I could be wrong. She was with some guy who looked like an older brother, boyfriend or even father — I stopped anyway. It turns out, she had gotten a flat and the guy had replaced the tube and mounted the tire, all they needed was a pump. I told them I had one and I asked out of curiosity, how was it that they were carrying a spare tube but no pump. That’s when he showed me the little tiny CO2 inflator he had in his seat pack. He said he had the cartridge but not the adapter to inflate the tire with it. When I proceeded to unclip my full size long stroke old school frame pump, she said she had never seen one that big. The guy asked what kind it was but didn’t know the names Presta or Schraeder. I gave the pump to the guy and he inflated her tire.

Before he finished, another guy came walking down the trail with an even bigger floor pump! He had ridden by before and promised to come back after he got to his car if they were still there. Knowing that it would be easier to pump with the floor pump, I got my frame pump back, wished them well and headed down the trail, I had barely gotten 100 feet when I heard a large bang. I turned around the guy said that he had overinflated the tire.

I gave them my spare inner tube, and having done my good deed for the day, rode back to my hotel. I must be getting old because cute biker chick called me sir :( Oh well, she did tell the guy that he needed a bigger pump like mine :)

About I mile later, I realized that the guy had most likely not overinflated the tire. It would take a huge amount of pressure to blow out a brand new tube. More likely, he had Failed to seat the tube properly and some of it was under the tire causing the blow out. I hope they made it OK.

All in all a great ride!

[[For those of you old school cyclists like me I know that a true old school pump would be a Silca Impero with a campy head — I used these pumps for for a couple of decades but they are no longer made. The newer pumps like my ToPeak Master Blaster are more efficient but I am still considering going back to Silca. I even purchased a NOS campy metal head on Ebay last year, maybe I'll bid on a pump body.]]

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2 Responses to Early Season Ride and a Damsel in Distress

  1. Bob Diedrichs says:


    Flat tires stir a memory. I still remember when you and John rode RAGBRAI IV, starting in Sidney, Iowa. Were you 12 or 13 then? On Saturday evening, the hill was covered with tents and the ground was full of sandburs. A lot of riders had flats from the sandburs. Europa, the bike shop from Cedar Falls, had a repair tent. Jeff, the repairman, had a lot of flats to fix and was cussing the dumb riders who “didn’t even know how to fix a flat”.

    As I recall, the first day was 40 miles and you and John were on the road for most of the day. Probably because of all of the new experiences and not the distance. After the first day, I think you sailed along very easily. Somewhere, I still have some pictures of that ride.

    If you are ever in Cedar Falls, give me a call and I’ll meet you for coffee – or maybe take you to Rotary for lunch.

    Keep pedaling.

    Bob Diedrichs

    • Dave says:

      Bob, I remember that like it was yesterday! I will look you up next time I’m in CF. I’d love to make copies of those pictures. Great momories! –Dave

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