To Mesa again, but Problems on Return Ride

I got sent to Mesa again for another week of training. Since the heat has gotten rather unbearable, I rode the bike down to Mesa, but came back on the Bus. Since city buses all have bicycle racks now, this seemed like a good idea when I started out, but I soon discovered a few problems.

The Phoenix-Mesa express routes run exactly in the wrong direction — they all run from Mesa to Phoenix in the morning, and from Phoenix to Mesa in the afternoon. This leaves the “Red Line,” which runs all day long, in both directions at about thirty minute intervals, but takes nearly three hours to travel from central Mesa to Metro Center. To make matters worse, I missed the run scheduled immediately after my class and the next one, when it finally arrived at Metro Center, got there just after nightfall. I wasn’t especially prepared to ride in the dark.

I left Metro Center, with no lights or clear lenses, following the bike path north along the Cave Creek Canal, and riding slowly. The bike path ends just before Thunderbird Road and I was riding along the “unofficial bike route” through residential neighborhoods when I lost a contact lens — without clear lenses, I wasn’t wearing my riding glasses. I stopped and was attempting to replace the lense in my eye — it had only dropped out onto my cheek — when the rain started and washed it out of my hand. With only two miles remaining, I pressed on and began riding very slowly through the driving rain with one eye closed.

Surprisingly, this worked rather well. Until, only a half-mile from home, I misjudged the height of a curb and bent a rim — just enough to prevent it from rolling, at all, through the brakes. After disconnecting the brakes, I was able to finish the ride home.

This return trip from Mesa, with the never-ending bus ride and seven miles by bike, took just over four hours to complete. I’d have been better off taking my chances with the heat.

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