Well, there we were, at Gene Coulon Park in Renton, nearly half-way into the loop around the south end of Lake Washington, having a snack at Kidd Valley. I had my bike propped up in front of me, and as Alex was off getting milkshakes, I noticed a tiny black line running much of the way around its downtube, near the fork.
Unlike steel, aluminum isn’t required to give you any warning before failing. I was probably pretty lucky to spot this problem, and to have a chance to find another way home and to retire my faithful frame before any catastrophe could occur.
But of course that’s not what I did, riding instead another nine miles very gently to the little picnic area just short of the Allentown Bridge, sending Alex home for the car, and taking this picture meant to represent end-of-the-line for my old Novara.
Alex is familiar with this scenario — it’s pretty much what she did that time I broke my hip, just with a different car and a different bike. And more distance.
And then, while she was on her way, I rode just another half mile to Cecil Moses park, where there are more amenities.
It was clear though that I should get another bike before my luck ran out, so a few days later I ended up at Gregg”s and found a bike about the same size as the old one, but with fatter tires — what they’re calling a “gravel bike” or “adventure bike” these days. It’s a Trek Checkpoint ALR5, road-bike in shape but with lots of hard points for mounting luggage. I’ve changed some parts around and it it seems to fit okay. A mere sixty-five years ago I wouldn’t have imagined that someday I would have a bicycle with hydraulic disc brakes.