Taking advantage of the longest days of the year, I’d hoped to go on my annual dawn to 15 hours later dusk and a thousand kilometers onward rideabout. But reality intervened, with a series of nightly thunderstorms that kept me up, via thunder and the every couple hours need to check for water seeping where it shouldn’t into my earth sheltered abode. Finally cleared up before dawn today, but with a bit of seepage to deal with I daren’t sleep in… So much for a long ride today. Weren’t that big a seepage, easily dealt with via Shop Vac, but after a nap to catch up on sleep it was too late to start. 

The best laid plans, as they say… We scheme out a big days ride, but nature has other plans. Water isn’t intended to seep into folks houses, but it does. Fortunately I keep a Shop Vac handy, as well as a few year’s supply of floor dry. Some of my friends who live in Minneapolis weren’t so prepared and awoke to the sudden appearance of swimming pools in their basements. And relying on weather forecasts? I’ve been riding through downpours on days with a forecast 10% or less chance of rain, and saturday despite a forecast day long deluge the deluge didn’t appear ’til dark. Between changing climate the forecast models can’t keep up and dying weather satellites,  a rider has to prepare for the worst and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

And that’s just the weather… Beautiful afternoon, on a beautiful ride on US14 somewhere west of Pierre. But you note some squirimishness arear, and stopping to inspect, note the deflated condition of the rear tire. You pull out the tire plugs and goo, prepared for a easy fix, but the air’s escaped from a gash in the side. Fortunately you’ve carried a big rubber patch with in case your less prepared riding buds with tubes get a flat, and after a couple hours work you’ve busted the bead with mostly sweat for lubricant in the 90 degree heat. The tire holds, and you gingerly proceed at half your planned 80 MPH pace toward Rapid City. But the thunder and everything else storm that’s not supposed to hit ’til midnight is an early arrival. You spot a hay shed and take cover, hail falling down but the rain blowing sideways, but the ‘stich your broiling in is waterproof. Darkness falls, and the rain continues to do so too. You’ve got a reservation in Rapid City, but you left the bags with the bivy sack and sleeping bag on the bike anyway. You pull out your cell phone to cancel the reservation, but even the Verizon guy can’t get a connection here. 

‘Round midnight the rain stops, the ‘skeeters been washed away, and the stars come out. Those couple liters of water fellow riders kid you about carrying come in handy, you even washed up a bit. Tire’s still round, so you pack up and proceed… Couple hours and you’re searching for a tire in Rapid City, dirty but warm and safe.

The tire repair stuff and basic camping gear are what we now fashionably call “Resiliency”, which used to be called “emergency preparedness”. Yup, it’s kinda unfashionable to carry tools and parts and camping gear on a bike, ‘specially if your a cruiser or sport bike rider. But without all that unfashionable stuff, you might still be wet and freezing on the barren high plains west of Pierre…

No tires in town, but you get your order in early enough that UPS will have it here tomorrow. The mom ‘n’ pop motel lets you switch your reservation to tonight, and you bum around Rapid City for the day. A day behind, but you’ve gained a day of rideabout. As they say… Fate favors the prepared!