02 March 2006

[sundial_life] I Am Two-Tired

I have a bike.

I love bicycling. It's a sort of freedom and, so far, the only effective tool I've ever known to keep my weight down.

Some time ago, before the moving and the grooving to the site of the present Station, I purchased a used bike from a cow-orker. A mid-90's (I'm guessing) Schwinn World Sport, 10-speed, 27" wheels, middling-to-tall frame, drop handlebars (the way God meant a 10-speed to be, in other words), and in my dross-filled life, even though it was such a find, I parked it and never got round to fixing up the tires and cleaning the gears.

Lately, I've been chiselling bits out of our chaotic garage, bit by bit, and dug it out. Needed to air up the tires...should have been no big deal. But I couldn't find any of our bike pumps, not a one.

Get a new one, sure. Only...when I was more active, a bike pump was a long thing, like a short cane, with a hose that screwed into one end and an end which screwed onto the stem. The current ones clamp on to the valve stem (of which I've learned there are two types: the good old-fashioned (Schraeder) and the overbred (Presta) and look like they've been designed at DARPA.

I mean, what the hell? When did things get so difficult?

Wish I had Lance Armstrong here. We'd share a beer or two, I'd help him get over Cheryl, and he could explain all that to me. You know, liveSTRONG and all that. Anyhow.

At first I tried a Bell pump. The design of this left a hell of a lot to be desired. Returned it to Freddy's and got something from Target that had the Schwinn logo on it, that's supposed to mount on my frame...somehow. That's not exactly clear just now. Moreover, the storage hasn't been kind to the front tube, and no matter what I did, the front wheel wouldn't inflate. Of course, I might have been misusing the SuPeR-ScIeNcE bike pump (developed, you will recall, at some secret government lab).

One thing I did come away with were two 27" tubes that were self-healing, coated within with a substance imagintively named "Slime". This, I am certain, is an experiment in dealing with disposing of some toxic byproduct of something, but if it keeps me from having to change my tubes often, the tumors and the birth defects will have been worth it.

Actually, things looked up once I installed the new tube in the front wheel and aired it up (finally-the infuriation I felt at the futility of the old tube might have ruined lesser marriages, and that's all I have to say about that) and wheeled her out on the street in front of the house...

And then, the sturm und drang was all worth it. There is nothing, nothing at all in the world, like riding a bike. Nothing.

Now, here's the plan: from my advantageous positioning in Baja Gresham I am a shout away from the Gateway Transit Center. Reviewing transit fares reminded me why this area was originally outré: it's in TriMet Zone 3, meaning the cost of a monthly pass that will get me where I need to go is actually more than filling the Beetle (whose mileage looked great in '72, but now, not so much) for the same commuting each day. However, I can now ride the Schwinn to the GTC, MAX to downtown (2 zones, not three) and then leg it the rest of the way to the Salt Mine.

Which is a cool idea. Because you have absolutely no idea how much I need physical activity.

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