Sometimes, You Just Keep Pedalling
I take a shortcut through a couple of parks, on my way home every day. I go through Garland Park, cross Cherry Creek on Holly, then swing a right into another little park whose name I can't remember (City of Something Park). I get on Holly at the spot where the Cherry Creek Bike Trail crosses. But, rather than crossing, I turn left to go across the new bridge. (See the lay of the land here. Google won't let me embed the map, for some arcane reason.)
Sometimes, I have to hit the pedestrian-crossing button so that the lights will go red in all directions, so that I can get onto Holly without getting flattened. Other times, I can take advantage of a gap in traffic to shoot diagonally through the intersection, from Garland Park, and take a place in the traffic lane. Today, I shot the gap.
I rolled slowly up to the corner, in the park, and saw that I had enough room to get out onto the road, if I stood up and sprinted. So, I did. I banked slightly left as I entered the stree (cutting across the intersection in a diagonal), and sprinted hard. On about the fifth pedal stroke, I heard it.
Now, through the all of the years that I have been riding and wrenching on bikes, I have learned one hard and fast rule: Ping is never a good sound.
Ping is the harbinger of doom. It is the bell's toll, Gabriel's trumpet, the cry of the banshee.
Ping is the sound of broken.
Usually, when I hear a ping, I stop pretty much immediately and see what's going on. To not stop is a risk. Whatever pinged might bring you down like anti-aircraft fire brought down bombers in WWII.
Today, however, I had to keep going. I was shooting a gap (remember?), and I was in the middle of it when the ping hit me. I could only continue pedalling and hope I made it to City of Something Park before a catastrophic failure brought me down.
Or not. Because, sometimes the ping is trivial. Could be nothing to worry about. And, that was my hope, today.
I made it across, and into the park, where I slowed down. As I slowed, I heard a new sound.
Tic, tic, tic.
The time-bomb sound. My bike was becoming a collection of metaphors as I rode.
This was a sound I know. Broken spoke.
The broken spoke is lying across the chainstay.
The wheel stayed fairly true, which always amazes me with 24-spoked wheels. I will say this, the Rolf Dolomite is a tough wheel. These things are 8 years old, and they've been through hell and back. I'm thinking I might just retire them, and use my Mavic Crosslands on this bike.