Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another one on the Road

So I have the nickname of the "Bike Angel" at work now. A couple weeks ago, Owen came to me or told me as I went through his register that he bought a bike for $5 at a garage sale in Sioux Falls. I told him to bring it by and I'd see if could make it work for him.

Everything was in good working order except the tires which were dry rotted and nearly illegible to ascertain the size, all the gum sidewalls having been eroded by age. I finally determined that they were 26 by 1 3/8 or 590 BSD, which was fortuitous as I had just rebuilt a "Made in England" Huffy which turned out to have been screwed up beyond my repair skills (another post). So I put it up on the rack and took off the wheels. They worked fine on the Rangor. I could only find that this company also made a line of superhero bikes but it has a lugged frame and a nice color so it should make a decent bike. All Owen wants it for is to run errands and get to work. The 590 or 650A is a good tire size, time-honored on English 3-Speeds.

So, I put on some nice Weinmann Centerpull Brakes with new brake levers and a set of riser handlebars and seat I had in the parts stash and the bike is reborn.

It seems much friendlier now, more useful as a city bike for commuting and trips to the grocery store.

Monday, May 22, 2006

LA Gets It.

Not in our paper here in KC, but we did have a record number of folks in the Bike Commuter Challenge or what might henceforth, be called, the Car-Free Commuter Challenge.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ride of Silence

The only thing worse than politics is church politics, or so my father conveyed to me, at least, indirectly. It is "Bike to Work Week" and we are beset by so much baggage that I often forget why we do it. How do these institutions arise so quickly?

It's like this to me: I have to work. I have to get there. I try to do so with the least amount of expense and strain. A great deal of the time that is to ride my bike there. In a day filled with "I-need-this-yesterday" and "Can-you-squeeze-this-in?", my bicycle time is an oasis of sanity. So I ride, a fixed-gear` because it offers the fewest complications.

And here it comes, teams, and calculations and riding-the-bus-counts and walking-counts-but-half-the-mileage and we-need-prizes and I'm-not-getting-enough-recognition and then, I put my ass on the saddle and move my feet up and down on the pedals and everything is all right. I am riding.

And we get together to remember those who were killed while riding their bicycles. A simple good thing we do and someone dies for it. Robert Osborn, murdered for sport, riding home from work. Jake Clough, missed a stop sign. Andre Anderson, run down by some remorseless asswipe. Toni Sena, as good a person as I would ever hope to meet, killed by some jerk chased by the police. We have to organize to remember them, or it just adds up in the rolls of the dead, the senseless killings we can't seem to remember, for there are so many that only the families can remember. Yet, we must remember and do more, make the roads better, take a stand for cycling. A simple good thing that we do and love, complicated by politics and governments, distracted by special interests and
wars and hunger and all we want to do is be on the road, unmolested, quiet, at peace with ourselves and the sound of our gears turning.