Sunday, October 26th, 2008
8:28 pm - Good Day, Bad Day...  
It was quite a lovely day today, sunny and well into the sixties, so I took a drive up to the Blackstone Valley path. Did 17.5 miles on the bike, and another three on foot... But I'm getting ahead of myself. Despite the lovely weather, I'd been having an aggravating ride as I approached the northern end of the path. The aggravation was due to the veritable multitudes of clueless people who were out and about, either walking on the wrong side of the path, or hogging both sides, or sauntering from side to side without looking to see if anyone was coming up behind them. I hope they all get the pox.

I always park near the middle of the path, and usually do the south half first, then the north, so as I approached the northern end, I'd had 14+ miles of this nonsense, and all I was thinking about was getting to the end, turning around, and heading back for the home stretch. Then I noticed something odd. There was a construction barrier just across the driveway where the path ended, behind which was a steam shovel. Beyond the shovel lay a rough gravel path continuing north, the apparent first step in constructing a further extension of the present path. Lots of people were continuing on past the shovel onto the gravel, so I figured I'd see how far it went.

It wasn't all that long, but then it didn't have to be. It turns out the other end connects to another finished path that runs through a newly built complex of athletic fields in Woonsocket. This was all new to me, so I kept on riding past soccer fields and a mini pitch and putt course. That was when I noticed that the bike was starting to handle funny. Stopped, and sure enough, the rear tire was way softer than than it ought to be.

At this point I'm about 5.5 miles from my truck, and already tired from the ride. I have a pump and a spare tube, but they were in the truck. I used to carry all that stuff with me on the Univega, but I never got around to moving it over to the Fuji. I should do that, huh?

Anyway, upon sizing up the situation, my exact thoughts were:
%!$%& ^@%*& $!%!$ %^& !&%&, #!*%%#&%&*%$ !$^@^%#^** %%^&, %%$ $^!& *!**&&$ *^@! %*^%&!$ &^*#^$**& *& %!!$%%& $!%!$% &!**! !%^#*!& %$!& !!%*&@!&. *& @^%^ %*^& !$ &^*^& !%*^!&, #*^% *!%&$*$ %#%$#^ &!&^!* *%%!&#!$@%$ %*%#^@^& %!@!$&^% *^%% *& !%^#*^@ %# %! #!&&!$! #!*%%#*!&. $*^% !*&%& !%% %*& ^$^*$% $!%!$ ^* !%*$$%$^& ^* !*%@*&!&% !%%^& %%%% &!%%%&^% #!*%%#*!&, !%% ^%%*& $!%!$% %* &%**^!& **%%! &!#^%^%^% !& !%$! %$!% %& !##*&%!* %& ^*%&! !$^! $^**^%%^& #*^ @%!*$^& @$!%%%*& %*@&!&*& %%$^% $%%%*^& !***% $*^% $!%!$% &% &%**!^& **%%! &!#^%^%^...

I decided to see how far I could nurse the tire, and I managed to do a very gentle 2.5 miles before the tire got so soft that further riding would've damaged the rim (which is still the loaner that bike shop let me use). I hoofed it the rest of the way. I left the bike computer in place as I walked, and I can now report that my average walking speed whilst pushing a bicycle is about 3.4 mph.

The bright lining in all this is that RI DOT is actively working on extending the path, and is being right quick about it. I rode Blackstone a month ago, and didn't see even a hint of this. And the current north end of Blackstone was only completed last fall. Now if they would just connect to two parts of the Cranston-Coventry path like they were supposed to in 2006.

Blackstone Valley, now with more path!