Monday, June 8, 2015

I Won the Sweepstakes

Very soon is the MS Bike Tour which I've been training for.  Not as a fundraiser on a bike but as a marshal on a bike. Every chance I could in the last several weeks, I've been on my bike - doing especially long rides two days in a row on the weekends.

I noticed with all my riding that there was a persistent creaking sound with every pedal stroke. So it was off to shop where I tightened the seat onto its post, used a pedal wrench on the pedals,oiled the chain and tested out the front derailleur from where the sound seemed to be coming. After quite some scrutiny, I discovered that one of my rear cogs was loose and by simply screwing the locking ring down, the creaking disappeared.

A marshal's job is to ensure the safety of the participants over the two day tour and also to hustle the riders along so that everyone can finish in time for the banquet the first evening. My friend Roy can attest to how slowly I pedal so I happily accepted the volunteer position of sweeper. Sweeping is done at the tail end of a group of cyclists. The sweeper position can be unenviable in that most of the marshals will book it as fast as they can to get to the day's finish - leaving the sweeper to encourage the slowest riders to move along.  You can imagine that some of those slow riders are travelling so slowly because their bikes are in poor repair. As a marshal told me once "The first day is all about broken bikes and the second day is all about broken bodies!"

On previous MS Tours, I'd seen marshals; their panniers filled with equipment and a tall floor pump poking out of one of the saddlebags. Faced with the prospect of having to pump up some of those tires, I now understood why the marshals didn't rely on compact hand pumps. Two full days of pumping tires would be hard work.

With only days left, I've been busy reading through first aid materials and checking my tools and first aid kit. Everything looks in order and I must remember to pack along my tall floor pump.

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