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Posts tagged ‘black wrench’

About A Bike

So yesterday, it seemed that I needed some groceries. And I didn’t need all that many groceries, just a few. The organic food market is rather inconveniently placed at the top of a hill. Not so bike friendly, this place. Usually, we use the car thing for buying the groceries, due to the hill and the sometimes cumbersome nature of the groceries. The wine, she is heavy.

But yesterday, I only needed a few groceries. The weather was good. Aha! I have a bike for that. The bike in question, an old, if not distinguished, road bike sat at the bottom of the bike stack. I began to dig. A couple road bikes, a couple mountain bikes, and at last, there he sat, just waiting to go to the grocery store. First, he needed a little work. Like, air in the tires. And somehow, the cable had jammed itself into the cranks and the shifting did not shift so well.

I dug out some wrenches and a pair of pliers and went to work. Now, I’m not so stellar as bike mechanics go, but I can get it done when the need is pressing. Since I needed to buy food, the need was pressing. I unscrewed the bolt, stuck the cable back in the cable thingy (highly technical), and slid the cable back under the bolt thingy (also highly technical). Then, I tightened the bolt and twisted on the twisting thingy to make it shift. Ready for a test ride, I took the bike, known as Sherman for his weight, down the stair to ride him around. Of course, I didn’t tighten the cable bolt enough. Schwing! Out came the cable. Back up the stairs, back with the pliers, back with the threading the cable through the bolt. Let’s try this again, shall we? This time, it worked.

Not quite trusting my mad skillz with the wrenches, I threw a few in my bag, and headed out to the grocery store. Though I imagined the bike spontaneously exploding, spokes popping, bolts flying out, tires exploding, it actually rolled down the road just like a bike should roll. Up the hill to the grocery store, we went. Sun shining, wind blowing, and the light had just begun its turn to evening. Still, the bike continued to roll just as a bike should.

When we reached the grocery store, I realized that while I had brought along some spare wrenches, I had forgotten a bike lock. Really, what kind of dufus forgets a bike lock? I do. Like, all the time. In my perfect world, there would just be bike locks, like lockers in train stations, where I’d be able to lock my bike. I wasn’t about to ride back down the hill to get a bike lock, then back up the hill to buy my groceries. I would have to be one of Those People who bring their crappy bikes into stores with them. This bike is pretty crappy, though it does have 9sp chorus on it, so I suppose to the discerning eye, it isn’t so crappy. Also, a well-broken in Fizik Alliante makes the best around-town bike saddle ever. Don’t say I never told you anything useful here at the Lint Trap. So, I clipped my shoes into the pedals (really, if you want to steal my old road shoes, I can’t be bothered to argue), wheeled my bike into an unused check stand (after asking nicely for permission), and went about my gathering of food. Food is good.

Buying food to carry home on the bike is a tricky business. You can’t buy too much, or you won’t make it home. But if you buy too little, you won’t have enough food. It has to be just right. Food assembled, I packed it away in my bag with the baguette sticking defiantly out the top. Not only was I one of Those People who bring their crappy bikes into the store, I was also one of Those People riding home with a loaf of bread sticking out of my bag. I’m not sure whether this is good or bad. Still, the bike continued to roll and better still, the uphill turned to downhill on the way home. You can never go wrong with a downhill finish.

Later that same night, we sat on the couch and ate the food. Suddenly, a strange sound emanated from the bike stack. It seemed the tire on my newly wrenched (not to be confused with wretched) grocery bike had decided all at once to go flat. Psssssssssss, it said, and the cat looked wildly around the room for ghosts. But there were no ghosts, just air punching through tired rubber. Free at last!

At least we weren’t sitting by the side of the road, for then, my grocery bike would be wretched indeed. Instead, I finished my food, and thought, yes, maybe tomorrow, I fix this. Because one should always have a grocery bike for when the grocery store is at the top of the hill and for when you don’t need very many groceries at all.


So I’m trying to find my fitness. It’s around here somewhere. Has anyone seen it?

It’s always cracks my morale a little to have that not-so-fit feeling. Since having the flu that kept on giving, I’ve been talking myself into riding my way back toward something resembling form. I mean, we’re not talking world beating here or anything, just enough to ride an actual race all the way to the actual finish line. And maybe before sometime next year.

This is always a tricky business, since the less fit I am, the less I want to ride. So I play little games. I pick a few of my favorite roads and string them together. If I ride an hour in that direction, I can go down a fun descent. If I turn up this road and do a little climby climb, I can see a nice view. Come here little girl, I’ll give you some candy. Today, I rode along the coast and looked at the water. Tomorrow, I’ll climb up somewhere and look at the view. All these little games. No numbers, no graphs, just bikey rides around the ‘hood.

Fortunately, spring has decided to show up for a few days. (It’s supposed to rain this weekend, so enjoy it while it lasts.) Riding the bikey in the sun is such a joyous thing. The sun is all sunshiney, the hills are green and grassy, and the flowers all flowery and polleny.

Jen’s tip of the day: Do not attempt to sneeze and corner simultaneously. It may cause disequilibrium.
(Is this a word? It is now.)

Now, if I could just find and silence the nasty creak my bike seems to have acquired recently, it will all be so perfect.

I do not like a creaky bike
A creaky bike, I do not like

I do not like it in the light
I do not like it in my sight
My creaky bike, it is a blight
Oh, tool of Park please make it right

Dr. Suess, I’m surely not
For now my brain is in a knot
With these rhymes I fought and fought
Perhaps I should erase the lot

I do not like a creaky bike
A creaky bike, I do not like