Bike to Work Day 4

Thursday’s edition of Bike To Work Week got off to a delayed start. I’ve had an occasional sharp nagging pain in my upper left chest for most of the week. I don’t remember when exactly it started, but it was definitely a few days after last week’s crash so I don’t think it had anything to do with that mishap. I’ve felt strong coming home up the South Hill all the week so I also didn’t think it was a problem with my heart or lungs, but it wasn’t getting better as the week has gone by. Thursday morning my chest was sore enough that I thought I should probably get it checked out by a doctor before going into work. Simple enough right? Not so much.

I hopped in my car to drive down to the Rockwood Urgent Care to get checked out. Almost as if to spite me for a week off without any use, my Honda Element refused to start. Its battery was completely dead. I wasn’t entirely surprised because I’d noticed the battery was pretty weak after a few days without driving back in April. The battery was over 4.5 years old so I knew it was going to need to be replaced soon, but the timing could have been a lot better.

Mary’s SUV is the primary family hauler (2 adults + 3 kids + 2 dogs just isn’t doable in my car) so I couldn’t just borrow it to go to the doctor. If my chest thing did turn out to be serious she could end up stranded. Riding my bike down the hill to the doctor with mysterious chest pains seemed kind of unwise as well (plus, I still need a decent lock).

I decided to try to jump the battery first using my Mary’s rig. Unfortunately, its battery was on the opposite side of the engine compartment from the Element’s. Even though our cars were parked side by side in the garage the two batteries were simply too far apart for one set of jumper cables.

I dug around and found another set of cables. I hooked them together with some trepidation and tried to jump my car. No go. I was getting enough juice to power up the Element’s electrical systems, but it wasn’t enough to crank the engine. I checked the connections and tried cleaning the contacts but it didn’t matter.

Time for Plan B. Mary suggested I use her car to go buy a new battery. That seemed logical since I don’t have a bike that could comfortably haul a car battery so I got her keys and headed for Schucks. The whole way there and back I was contemplating whether or not my Norco Cherokee would be a good candidate for an xtracycle conversion. I think an xtracycle (or Big Dummy if I win the lottery in the next year or so) might be my next next bicyle building project (is it wrong to think that far ahead?).

I got back home and swapped the batteries. The Element started as expected and finally almost two hours later than I had intended I headed on down to Rockwood.

The visit to the urgent care clinic was pretty anti-climactic. They weren’t busy at all on a Thursday morning and got me in pretty quickly. A nurse checked my vitals and they were normal, although she did comment on all the scabs/scars on my hand from last Thursday’s crash. A doctor came to listen to my heart and lungs a little bit later and they were fine. After talking to me about the pain in my chest and pushing and prodding my rib cage a bit, she came to the conclusion that it was some form of soft tissue or rib injury. All I could do at this point was take some Advil and wait for it to heal.

I went home feeling a little bit like a hypochondriac had some lunch with the family and then rode down to work as fast as I could. Bad timing on the Washington traffic lights and heavy lunchtime pedestrian traffic on the Centennial Traffic cost me a sub 20 minute time, but It felt good to ride fast in the heat. Last summer I actually broke 19 minutes riding time on that route a few times and I think a sub 18 is definitely possible on that route as well under the right circumstances.  Just another goal to aim for by the end of the summer.