Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Wheels on the Bike Go Round and Flat.

This week I've decided that, as a time and money saving measure, I will bike to work. My bike, purchased in Fort Collins in order to create another point of shared harmony with Jen, is heavy and in general not so great. But it is certainly good enough to meet my most basic bike needs. Ie, I can sit on it, and traverse the distance between home and work in a time that is less than or equal to the bus. That's it. Those are the needs.

Yesterday I get up and am feeling great about this decision. I get this sanctimonious feeling as I pass buses on the way to work. Thinking about how good I am (me personally) for the environment, and how fit and buff I'll be after all this biking. How rewarding this will be. It's a glorious morning, crisp and cool. I start to head down 16th and encounter a long hill, but as with everything this morning it's all downhill. Nothing to stand in my way.

Yeah, well that's not entirely true. Even as I'm enjoying this great morning, I realize, my tires need some air. Well that's not entirely accurate. It's my tubes inside my tires that need some air. And well, that's not entirely correct because some suggests that there is any air in my tubes to start with. As I finish coasting down the hill I realize that the normal rhythm of the bike tires on the ground has started to have a little more bass than usual. I'm sounding more like Snoop than I'd like, as there is a fairly consistent (every revolution as it turns out) sound coming from my back tire. My tire separated from the rim.

I am forced to abort my glorious ride and address the harsh reality that I'm walking my bike to work. So I walk the last 8 blocks to work and lock my bike. Locking my bike is a challenge as the U-lock is too short as is the cable lock. So the brilliant inter-locking patterns of my mind, whereby I am completely secure become something more akin to a taut tie between my bike and the rack. But I digress.

After trying with Paul's help to inflate the tube (no luck, though a special thanks to Paul for the effort), I take my bike to the bike shop. It is then that I meet the biking equivalent of every indie rock record store clerk. He is dismissive and basically scoffs at my bike. As we are walking out he says, in a strangely confrontational yet paternalistic tone: "Given 6 hours I could make this a good bike." I say, oh, what's wrong with it. Knowing full well several things, but wanting an appraisal, not a reprisal. Well I get the second. His answer: Oh...everything, but you don't care. You don't care do you. I feel like my pedatrician is accusing me of replacing formula with gin. I'm trying to be a good bike owner (having now spent nearly 80 bucks on a bike worth 150, just to lock and inflate it). So I pay and leave. The bike ride home is nice. The hill on 16th mocks me on my return trip. Every push of the pedal reminds me that for every stretch of downhill, there's always an uphill on the way back.

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