This week as I enjoy vacation time with my mom, Bill is at home working.  He surprised me by writing a guest post about his biking adventure on Sunday. Without further ado, here’s Bill’s story…


Last week, I had a small mechanical problem with my Salsa bike when I went out for a ride with Deb and Chuck. It was disappointing because of two things:

  1. It was the first bike ride Deb organized to include other people, in this case, Chuck because we knew Chuck was a pretty avid rider as well as a runner and one of Debbie’s original Cruisers, and, 
  2. The mechanical problem with my bike chain made my bike inoperable, though I am very glad I wasn’t out on a mountain when it happened.

One of the problems I never faced running was worrying about mechanical problems. Unless I had an injury, it was not likely that my running shoes would fall apart, for example, and I would have to walk home barefoot from the middle of a 20 mile long run.

On the bike, I have problems on a relatively frequent basis. Since I ride on gravel and dirt, in addition to the paved trails, I tend to give my bike a lot of uneven riding, bumps, and sometimes even some mud. As a result, little things happen like the chain gets a lot of mud on it or the quick release hubs come a little loose and cause noise. This is nothing too serious and isn’t even as bad as a flat though I have had to change tubes out on the trail, too.

So when I was approaching a steep but short hill last week, I down shifted to the lowest gear and was surprised to find my chain had moved beyond the largest sprocket on my rear tire and was stuck between the sprocket and the spokes. My bike has a flat plastic disk between the spokes and the largest sprocket on the rear wheel. However hard I tried, I could not get that chain free. I finally realized that I would have to loosen or remove the cassette, which is what the assemblage of sprockets together on the rear wheel is called. That requires a special tool that I do not have.


This is another point about bikes, and that is you have to bring tools like tire levers and pumps and spare parts like tubes with you when you ride. There is a chance of failure of these types of things and you need to be prepared. But there are some tools no one brings. 

So anyway, I had to carry my bike about a mile back to our house. I had to carry it because the rear wheel would not turn as the chain was effectively frozen.

I ended up taking my bike with me to the store where I bought it, a Salsa cycles dealer in Arlington. They fixed it on the spot doing exactly what I thought was needed – they took the rear cassette off and fixed the chain all while I was waiting. But that’s another story.

So that brings me to my beautiful Sunday ride on the bike path out to Purcellville and back. On the way back, I stopped at one of my favorite locations, the quarry overlook, where I wanted to take a break and check some noises I heard on the rear derailleur. There was someone there on the bench with his own bike, and we started talking. It so happened that he had a nice, but vintage Cannondale road bike with a beautiful red-to-orange fade paint job. I love orange as my adopted theme color now and my orange Salsa Vaya turns heads all the time.  

We introduced ourselves, and talked about Dean’s flat tire. Before I offered to help, Dean pointed out that he had not brought a spare tube, and had already made the decision to run home. Dean lived about a mile away, and when I asked how he would handle running when he had to carry his biking shoes and his bike, he said he runs barefoot regularly, so no big deal. 


There’s another thing about the biking community that is similar to the running community. Dean said he already had multiple bikers stop and offer to help fix his flat, and there was even someone who offered the right size spare tube. He said he turned them down as he had already decided to run home. His motto, like his shirt, is Press On! So that is what he did. 


So Dean, if you are out there reading this, let’s connect together again, either for running with the Cruisers or biking! 


Stay safe out there!

And Press On!


  • Deb’s questions:
  • Bikers:  Have you ever had to carry your bike home?
  • Bikers:  What tools/spare parts do you carry with you when on a ride?
  • Runners:  Have you ever destroyed a shoe while on a run and had to run home barefoot?