Long ride home

Let’s start with the good news: On my ride home from work tonight, I passed 1200 bike miles for the year. Given that I’m still a week away from the halfway point of my biking season—eight months, April through November—this puts me well ahead of last year’s pace.

That’s pretty much it for the good news. The reason I passed the 1200-mile mark tonight is that it took me over 25 miles of riding to get home. That’s three times the distance between my office and my house, and I know I rode that far because I came home…then had to ride back to the office…and then rode home again.

Why? Because when I pulled into my driveway the first time, I realized that one of my panniers was missing off the back of my bike. I hopped back on the bike and started retracing my route, figuring that I’d find it within the last mile or two. When I didn’t find it, I kept going, thinking that it came off during a bouncy stretch about halfway along the route. When that didn’t pan out, I kept going, eventually riding all the way back to my office and never finding the missing pannier.

And since I’m not going to sleep at my office, I then had to turn around and ride home again. This gave me another chance to search for the pannier, but I have to say as I got closer to home, my feelings about finding it became increasingly ambivalent. Sure, it would be great to have it back, but if I found it on my return trip within a mile or two of house, that would mean I’d just ridden 10–15 miles for nothing.

In any event, I didn’t find it; someone must have picked it up before I could get back to wherever it fell off. I’m not sure how it fell off. It’s several years old, and I had had to tighten its straps a couple of times in the past week. Maybe they finally loosened enough for it to bounce off. Maybe one of the plastic buckle pieces broke.

You might be wondering how a pannier could fall off my bike without my noticing. I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’ve decided to blame it on The Bugle. That’s what I was listening to on the (first) ride home, and it must have distracted me. I’ve noticed that the Bugle website contains no warnings of possible pannier loss if you listen to the show while riding, showing a willful and wanton disregard for the pannier-carrying public. Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver shall be hearing from my lawyer, my solicitor, my barrister, and possibly my licensed conveyancer shortly.

I’m calm enough to write this post only because of which pannier fell off. Here’s what I lost:

I hope whoever picked it up enjoys the underwear.

It’s not that I’m happy to have lost these things, but compared to what was in the other pannier,

I could be a lot worse off.

This is not my first loss of property on a bike ride. A couple of years ago, my phone popped out of its pouch. The pouch was actually made for a cell phone, but its closure was apparently designed under the assumption that you would always be riding in a velodrome. I retraced my route that time, too, and came up empty. Luckily I had insurance on that phone and got a new one with no hassle in a day or two.

The 25-mile distance of tonight’s odyssey reminds me that I never wrote a post about the McDonald’s LATE ride that my wife and I did a couple of weeks ago. That was also 25 miles, but was much more pleasant and varied. Frankly, it seems stupid to write about it now that so much time has passed, so I’ll just say that it was fun and very crowded. I did several tweets that night, and I have a set of photos up at Flickr. My favorite is this view of the city from North Avenue Beach, taken with my iPhone about half an hour before sunrise.