I was initially planning on doing the full 45 miles (short loop + long loop), so the day before I decided I should fix the slow leak in my rear tube. Every morning before my commute I re-inflate it, and every evening on the return it's a little low. When I removed the tube, I discovered I had already patched it twice before. I inflated it a little, submerged it in water, and found 2 more small leaks.
I prepared to patch them and discovered the tiny tube of vulcanizing glue in the patch kit was either empty or dried out. I walked to Target and picked up a tube of Shoe Goo.
The thing is, I have a spare innertube! I always take a spare tube with me on long rides. I could have replaced the tube, now with 4 patches, with a new one.
I told Flaster about this, and he asked if innertubes had gone up in price, or if the university wasn't paying me enough.
I think I have a problem, I said.
It's not a bug, it's a feature, he replied.
It felt a little weird paying $50 to ride a bike, something I've been doing for free most days anyway. They did give out bananas and cookies every 10 miles or so. I ended up riding just the 30-mile loop, since getting to the start of the ride and back home was another 12 miles, and I still had to pack for my trip to Champaign-Urbana later that day.
Group rides and organized rides are weird for me, because I'm usually just by myself. And I wasn't there with anyone I knew, so I was still by myself, but surrounded by a couple thousand other cyclists. I think I ride faster when other people are around, it spurs a feeling of competition that I typically try to avoid. But it's fun to breeze past a group of riders with matching Lycra jerseys.
In case you were wondering, the new patches held up and my tire remained properly inflated. Good as new?