I've been on Vashon Island a few times — by kayak — before. But today was the first time on the roads. (That is, unless I was too young to remember.)
This morning, I rode from my home near Greenlake to Alki Beach and down along the waterfront to the Fauntleroy Ferry. Rain was in the forecast for later, but it sure seemed ready to rain at any time. The ride was a pleasant one, though on many bumpy roads. Through Lincoln Park, you ride on gravel. There was enough wetness to make it a little sloppy. It's time to wash my bicycle again.
Five-fifty or so gets you over to Vashon. From the ferry to the main road is the biggest hill, about 1 miles long. I got passed and then later passed a cyclist, then he passed me again. He seemed determined to beat me up the hill. He was heaving and sounded strained. Perhaps I was being polite or perhaps I was tired myself, I let him lead the rest of the way. On the way to the top, I made a little conversation: he lived on the island, and I tried to explain it was my first time here. I said I planned to go around the whole island. "Maury Island, too?" I wasn't sure if Maury Island was automatically included when one indicated "around the whole island." Some other cyclist was at the top and he sped off on the main road at 22+ mph. I headed down to the left.
The left led to a road along the west side, a winding road canopied in deciduous trees and cedars, which had occasional driveways or side roads off to peoples' homes on the water. I didn't see a single car for 20, 30 minutes. The rain started in earnest, but I was quite warm. I was more sweaty than wet, and dirt started to flick on my front and back. You'd get glimpses of water, and sometimes pass a Madrona tree or two, or a farm. It was Cascade foothills cycling combined with a bit of San Juan Island flavor.
My back and neck — post sports massage — actually felt worse than last weekend. My legs and knees weren't quite as capable as I remember. I wondered if I was wearing myself out? Am I finally old? The rain stopped and I walked out on a beach to snack.
Climbing back up to the ferry hill, I hit a patch of wet glass that crunched and popped. A few moments later, I heard air escaping from my tires. The rain was starting up again. Getting my tire off was pretty easy and tube out not too hard. I felt around carefully for any left-over shards and considered it safe to put another tube on.
I set up camp underneath some trees. A couple of people, one old man in a car and two bicyclists stopped by and asked if I was okay. I had my tube and patch kit, I've changed dozens of tubes.
I got to work: Immediately, I noticed my spare tube (carried probably over a thousand miles so far) was too short by about 6 or so inches. I must have bought the wrong one: How did I get the wrong size? I presumed a little air would stretch the tube enough to fit over the rim. but it actually had an opposite effect. Luckily, I had my patch kit and if I was patient I could simply fix my old tube. The package optimistically says: "Lightly roughen tube with the included sandpaper, clean, apply patch, and you’re ready to go." Yes!
So, I pump up, but notice the tire does not harden. After some consideration, I figure the patch did not stick properly. Or I damaged the tube on mount, or pinched it someway. Considering my options carefully, I call Hitomi. She'd come pick me up in West Seattle, I'd walk down to the ferry. It was getting late and the rain fell steadily.