Terii’s Cycling Babble

April 2, 2011, 7:13 pm
Filed under: Day Rides

Well, gray and rain earlier in the morning, yet I decided to attempt a ride.

A bit of a late start.  I actually decided to do an older route since I discovered rune stones I’d missed at some churches.  Amazing what you can find when you take time to look at pictures.  It was going to be a fairly straight route to get three of them in a go while making it my longest ride of the year.  Even better?  I could finish it at home.  Perfect!  After scrambling around to collect things and get ready, we drove out around 11:30.

Stavby Kyrka

Stavby Kyrka

Stavby Kyrka.  Obviously, the picture is from summer.  2 years ago actually as I’m saving photo space.  I’ve only been to this church once when I forgot my shoes and couldn’t do the ride.  Rather peeved my husband doing that.  I didn’t notice runestone when I took the picture two years ago either.

Snow lay pretty thick and the wind had a chill to it, but nothing near the cold from the ice rink ride.  I wasn’t too worried as I dug the camera out.

Uppland Runestone #1122 – Stavby Kyrka

We did a quick stroll around the church yard and I collected the runestone.  Embedded in wall, it looks turned sideways.  We finished the stroll just in case there were any other stones hiding.  If were doing a good job of it if so.  Though doing quick research on the church revealed there’s a grave mound somewhere close to it.  I guess it’s another reason to tie this church into another ride.

Loke hopped and yodeled as I got the trike ready and my husband drove away.  A frenzy gripped him and with him setting the pace, we hit 18.6 mph even with a 1% grade.  Loke hasn’t even gone that fast down the hill toward the river.  He gave me those tongue flapping grins as he charged along at a hard gallop.

I’d been worried since the first mile or so of the ride was already on unpaved surface, but it was firm and obviously fast since we flew along.  As I came up to the first turn, I heard honking of geese or swans.  I couldn’t see anything in the field near by until I turned onto the pavement.  Through a line of tall reeds, I could make out moving shapes.  White and dark ones.  I thought the dark shapes might have been cranes which would have been rather surprising.  Cranes and swans sharing a field.

Swans & Deer

It took a bit of juggling to swap the lenses on the camera.  I’m not fond of doing it in windy conditions.  I have images of bugs and dust getting on the sensor, but it’s worth it for the versatility.  I zoomed in and smiled.  Not cranes!  Deer.  Deer and geese and juvenile swans!  Even zoomed all the way in I knew it wasn’t going to come out very well.  Tall reeds between me and the animals helped not at all as far as focus went.  Even so, there’s the picture!

It was surprising how much of the countryside I remembered.  Going along, I’d smile remembering the riot of colorful flowers along a white picket fence, gone now.  This was the curve where the house with the big dog and low fence sat.  Though brown grass and trees instead of green, the house and dog were still there.  There was the sport park where I’d stopped to eat cherries and let Loke cool off in the shade of a tree.

Loke and I made good speed.  Our average for our rides so far this year have been in the 5.5 mph range.  Pretty slow.  Of course, that includes all the stops I make as well as slow hill climbs and walking around church yards for runestones.  Even so, our average this time was coming out over 6 mph.  Something like 6.2.  I was thrilled!

Rasbokils Church

Rasbokils Church

Rather soon, I made the turn into the parking lot of Rasbokil church.  Again, a summer photo to save space.  I really should have taken another now that the scaffolding is gone.  I like these kinds of churches with the white-washed geometric designs in the yellow walls.  The runestone is visible just to the left of the door.  I really have to wonder how I missed it the first time I was here.

Loke and I did a stroll around the entire church.  As we passed a pile of cut brush, Loke picked up a small branch to drag.  He’d bound ahead with it so he’d have time to lay down and pull twigs off before I’d catch up.  Then he’d bounce ahead again to repeat.  I think tearing sticks apart is his 2nd favorite activity, right behind running with the trike.

Uppland Runestone 1012 – Rasbokil Kyrka

We finished the loop at the runestone and we went back to where the trike was parked.  I tethered Loke to a sign so he could sniff along the wall and wrestle with another cut branch.  He picked one that probably weighed as much as he did.  He played with his over-sized stick and drank water as I sipped water and nibbled a granola bar.

About the time I finished eating, Loke began woofing at me.  He was ready to go.  He’s just a machine.  Granted, we’d barely gone 5 miles, but he wanted to go.

I barely needed to look at the maps or the GPS as we went along.  I knew the next unpaved stretch was coming up.  I had my fingers crossed it would be clear.  The dirt was a bit soft, but free of ice.  Loke went nuts at the sight of unpaved ground.  The snow covered fields ringed and studded with the dark green of conifers glided by to the wet hissing sound of tires against mud.  Loke’s belly and legs began to turn black from the splatter.  Our good pace continued.

Around mile 10, I stopped for Loke and I to take a bit of water.  As I held Loke’s bowl for him, I heard ‘PWANG!’.  My first thought, “Oooh. I really don’t like that sound.”  I grew up around an acoustic guitar player.  The sound reminded me of a snapping guitar string.  Since I had no guitar that left the closest thing.  A spoke.  Cringing, I ran my hand around the outside wires of my left wheel.  One of them moved.  I fiddled (carefully) with it as it considered.  It had snapped right where it bent to thread into the hub.

I wasn’t surprised.  I know about metal fatigue.  I’ve been bouncing, jouncing and slamming through/over ruts, curbs and potholes for 5 years.  5 years of rattling, clattering and vibrating over the big stones of freshly turned gravel roads.  A few thousand miles.  Was a broken spoke so surprising?  No, but it was irritating.  The sound of goals breaking.  The 22 mile minimum I’d wanted to make a new record for the year.  The goal of exceeding last year’s mileage total by the end of April.  Not to mention the sound of vacation plans snapping.

Yep.  Vacation plans.  I had planned on going to Öland.  It’s an island just off the coast.  2nd largest in Sweden’s archipelago.  It’s been settled at least since the stone age.  Churches, runestones, faint hints of earthen works and of course burial mounds.  Bleah.  Not likely I can get the spoke fixed on Monday to leave on time.  *sigh*

I decided I shouldn’t make the full ride, though sitting in the middle of a dirt road and giving my husband vague directions didn’t sound like a winner either.  Loke and I eased along the last mile or so of dirt road to Rasbo Kyrka where I called for a rescue.  It’s possible the wheel would have held all the way home, but I’d rather not risk ruining the rim completely.

It didn’t take long for Loke to figure out we were stopping.  I tethered him just out of reach of the trike and settled in to wait.  He woofed and huffed at me.  He even whined.  When I tried to take his harness off, he kept backing up when I tugged at the buckles.  When I tried to pull it over his head, he kept walking forward to keep his head in the loops.  When my husband arrived and I moved the trike a bit, he immediate moved into hitching position at the running bar.  Something tells me he didn’t want to stop.  *smirk*

Ah well.  Now to see how long I have to wait to get a working wheel.  Loke might be sulking at me for a while.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I would find the broken spoke very frustrating too. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you can get it fixed and still have your vacation.

I enjoy reading about your rides with Loke. Thanks for posting.

Tom (tbarron from recumbentriders.org)

Comment by Tom

Thanks for reading! 🙂

And as of 11 am my time, the wheel is at the only cycle shop in Uppsala open on Sunday. The one who took it said, the guy who does wheels will be in tomorrow and he think it can be done before evening. So, fingers crossed! I’ve also started asking the guys at ICE about getting spare wheels. Next time, I’ll be able to swap wheels, drop the damaged one off and keep pedalling. 😛

Comment by terii

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