One of the benefits of getting out of the house and on the road early to get to an 8 a.m. flu shot appointment is having a few minutes extra to extend my commute along Ballona Creek to Centinela Avenue where I could de-bike, count coots in the water and grab a seat to watch that little bit of world go by — and on such a beautiful day, too:

Sharp eyes might wonder where Le Noir might be. Indeed, I’m back on good and dependable Ol’ Yeller — again — because Tuesday night Le Noir developed a mysterious and disconcerting cla-thack noise emanating repetitively from somewhere along the cranks/bottom bracket. This was coupled to some weird handling issues developing with the front fork and so I had to make the decision to leave her at Orange 20 in the capable hands of Jim C. to resolve and repair.

As if that’s not frustrating enough, on the ride in to work yesterday morning on Ol’ Yeller against my better judgment I decided to stop and fiddle with the funked up front derailleur (a contraption that I never fail to screw up further whenever I touch one). Sure enough by the time I was done messing around turning the trim screws and trying (and failing) to tighten the cable the derailleur wouldn’t move the chain onto the big ring much less get out of the way to allow me move it along the different gears of the rear cassette, so I was forced to basically single-speed it on the mid-ring the remaining 14 miles in.

That may not seem like a big deal, but when one’s legs are accustomed to pedaling a chain around a 53-tooth front/16-tooth rear gear set, being reduced to the much smaller 42/18 often left me over-spinning like Dorothy’s nasty Toto-taking neighbor.

At the other end of the day I dreaded rolling all the way home like that so I busted out the multi-tool and eventually lucked into solving the problem. It certainly wasn’t skill that brought about such a satisfying resolution. Just me twisting and turning and dismantling and reattaching things until it worked again. Yay.

Even better, this morning. I lowered the seat a quarter inch, and dropped the adjustable stem a notch, while rotating the bars upward just a smidgen, and for the first time since I had to haul her out of hibernation following my slow-speed collision with the double-parked minivan on Le Noir last month, she feels almost dialed in. Almost.

Anyway, we enjoyed a few minutes of relaxation, while I admired the morning and even gave a few bits of dog kibble (that I carry now in case I happen upon a hungry stray) to the gang of pigeons who stopped by to say hey.

Then it was on to work.