Thanks, closing out this project with a good story...
All the stars aligned this week for the Maiden Voyage! The bike was almost complete, Friday weather forecast was 55 and sunny, had to work only a few hours in the afternoon, so it was time to spread her wings. Started early in the morning with taping the bars, final adjustments, and overall pre-flight check. Also installed new seat I ordered from Amazon this week, wanted modern comfort and liked how the black/white combo brought everything together. Wasn't happy with that 80's Jaguar seat I used on test flight, too uncomfortable.
My plan was a 15-mile late morning sortie on the bike trail for its first official outing. The first few miles was great and cruising with a big smile on my face. I come upon a small section of the trail that is closed, no big deal because there is an upper ramp to go around, but while maneuvering around a large steel art structure I had to thread the needle to stay on the asphalt and avoid the mud. Well considering I haven't been on a road bike in 36 years I miscalculated and went off the edge of the asphalt into the mud and had to put my foot down to prevent a total wipe-out. To be standing in the mud with muddy tires only 2 miles into the flight was a little disappointing, but no big deal its just dirt.
I prop the bike up against the art structure and wipe the mud off my shoes. Next I wanted to get the big chucks of mud off the tires so it doesn't sling all over the bike when I get back on, so I decided to pick the bike up and bounce the tires off the ground to knock the mud off, not a good idea because that knocked the chain off the front sprocket. No big deal, easy to put back on, so I go to put the chain back on while turning the cranks and the next thing I know the chain is jammed into the area between the bottom bracket and the sprocket! I mean its really stuck! Turning the sprocket one way or the other seemed to make it worse, and the nuts on the backside the of the sprocket were coincidentally positioned perfectly to interfere with unjamming the chain, it was totally insane! I went from a routine sortie to a total train wreck within minutes and I thought I might have to walk 2 miles back to the car. This is one of those moments I had to take a step back for a minute, take a deep breath, let go and reset. After a brief meditation I calmly attempted to get the chain out without my gloves on, it took a LOT of force and finesse, but after several minutes I finally got it out, put it back on the sprocket and continued on my way.
Later in the ride I stopped to have my packed lunch on a warm sun-baked bench. A few winged friends decided to join me, shared my apple with one of them, and we all took a quick power nap in the sun. Shortly after hitting the trail again I noticed a group of geese having a fit on the shore, so I stopped to see what they were squawking at and I see two geese in the choppy waters flapping around with their bills attached. I assume they were fighting but after watching for several minutes they looked like they were struggling, so I think what started out as a fight ended up getting their bills stuck. The fast current was drifting them toward the River Rescue Boat House, so I pedaled down there and one of the crew was outside getting some fresh air. We both observed for a few minutes and agreed what was happening as they were drifting closer. He went in to grab a long pole and net when suddenly the geese broke loose, rescue operation aborted lol. We chatted for a while about river rescue operations, lots of good intel.
On the return flight back to the car there is a long stretch on the trail that is flat and smooth concrete, so I was able to crank her up to full speed in 6th gear (81 gear inches), wide open full throttle with a tailwind, boy was I flying! It was stealthy quiet and smooth as glass, like the old saying goes, steel is real. All in all it was a very fun and interesting first outing, my dad would have really enjoyed that run, and maybe he did! Even if I never rode that bike ever again that 2-months work was worth every minute of today's 3-hour sortie.