Big Nellie Returns, Not

A few weeks ago during a bike ride, I went to open my water bottle valve with my teeth as I have done hundreds of times before. This time, a veneer crown popped off one of my teeth. Yesterday, after two weeks and over $800, the dentist installed a new crown and my tooth looks fabulous. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about its appearance, I’ll settle for structural integrity.

After visiting with my dentist, I drove out to Bikes at Vienna to pick up Big Nellie. The gears work. The brakes work. The new Panaracer Pasella tire with Tourguard feels like buttah. On the way home, I dropped the car off for an oil change and rode Big Nellie the last mile and a half. Sweet.

When I spotted our silver Accord in my driveway, my brain said, “Lily’s home.” And I immediately realized how life has suddenly changed. Lily, my daughter, is now a freshman in college, far away in Indianapolis (a city with some pretty awesome new bike infrastructure, by the way.) Not having her around brings a mixture of feelings. There is a sense of loss and a sense of excitement. I miss her but I know she’s going to have a great experience in college. Go get ‘em, Lily!

I was all psyched to ride Big Nellie to work this morning when I discovered that her new rear tire was flat. Yeesh! Rather than mess with a tire change first thing in the morning, I hopped on The Mule and headed for work. It was muggy and foggy and just kind of gross out. I passed the Hoppy Runner and Nancy “Two Sheds” Duley. Nancy was riding with a headlight on, which I find depressing; summer is almost over.

The ride home was typical for DC in late summer: an erratic tailwind combined with muggy conditions. The ride was made significantly easier than the ride in, because I wasn’t carrying my anvil of a laptop in my panniers.

Once home, I took the wheel off Big Nellie and examined the tube and tire. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the tire but the tube was losing air pretty fast. It turns out the valve stem was broken. Stuff happens. While I was working on the bike, I toed in the brake pads on the rear wheel.

Big Nellie is rested and ready. Tomorrow we ride to Friday Coffee Club at sunrise.

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One thought on “Big Nellie Returns, Not

  1. Been there, done that–kids off to college, I mean. I’m crossing my fingers, but I’ve not had any flat tires lately. Oh, man! That probably means I’ll have one tomorrow.

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