On Thursday of my first week in City X, I ventured farther afield – took the light rail and a bus to an in-city area where mountain bike trails were promised. As I discovered later, the directions I had were about 10 years old and didn’t take into account a spiffy new paved trail. So, I blew right past that, missing an easy entrance to the singletrack trail. As a result the first “trails” I found were so primitive I didn’t see how I was going to ride them, especially with my puny 26” wheels.
I stumbled around on the primitive trails for a while and finally, just as it was getting dark, came upon the entrance to the real trails. I did a quick recon and then headed back up the paved trail to catch the bus/train/train back to my hotel.
As I was climbing out of the park my drivetrain jammed up – investigation revealed that the freehub had frozen – meaning my pedals would turn with the back wheel. Not a good look, unless you’re a hipster on a fixie. Since I wasn’t in a frame of mind to grow ironic facial hair and don a vintage stocking cap, this meant I needed some new parts, especially since I had already reserved a rental car and made a plan to go mountain biking in the actual mountains over the weekend.
So … Friday after class I went and picked up the rental car then spent a couple of hours calling all the bike shops in my mystery city in search of a new freehub. As luck would have it, I had some kind of obscure setup that no one had in stock. My other choice was to buy a new rear wheel, which I did, with minutes to spare before the store closed. It weighs as much as dark matter, but it will get the job done until I get home and can order the obscure part for the superior wheel that’s presently incognito as a large paperweight.
After I shopped for a wheel I went to Nordstrom Rack to buy jeans after realizing the one pair of uniform pants I had brought with me were utterly demoralizing. Imagine the kind of pants your sophomore algebra teacher wore, back in, say, the 80s. Imagine them in all their glory, complete with a sternum-level waistband and the various extraneous folds and gathers produced by the journey a poorly fitting garment makes over and around someone’s body.
Then add the jet engine oil stains that I forgot about until I reached my hotel room 10 hours before class started (need to stop cleaning my screwdriver on my pants leg after I use it to open oil cans). Yeah … so, to keep with the corporate training dress code without being completely depressed about my attire, I bought some jeans. I’ll still have to wear the uniform pants during on-the-job training next week (and to work forever) but classroom days give me a reprieve.
Saturday I put the new wheel on the bike and drove up to a place to the north of my mystery city to check out the trails. Tune in next week to learn whether a displaced mountain biker can find happiness thousands of miles from home.