Wednesday, August 31, 2011


My life has been very busy lately.  Crazy too.  Full time husband.  Full time father.  Full time job.  Full time biker.  24 Hour Party Person (retired and just part time).  Oh, yes, co-Commuter of the Year!

Seemed to be too much going on this month.  Recover from Ragbrai.  Bike repairs.  get kids ready for school.  Urban Assault Ride.  My grandmother spending a week or so at Mercy.  Not to mention returning to work.  I took mass quantities of time off for Ragbrai.

So yesterday I notice that my rear tire is not holding air properly.  Not a surprise.  I put a patch on it on the 8th and proceed to put on over 317 miles.  Push my luck.  The front tube has had a patch on it since before Ragbrai, still A OK.

It was a simple plan.  I pumped it up before work but after work it was low again.  Less than 2 miles to Casey's.  Free air.  then go to The Collective and purchase a NEW tube and put it on there.  Perhaps help Brad O.  Then meet Mary and ride to Cumming for Tacos. 

Ready! Set! Joe!?!?

Joe?  Joe Hildreth.  A good friend of mine and fellow bike commuter.  I have not seen him since Atlantic on Ragbrai.  We meet on the Gray's lake Bypass Trail.  "Too bad there's not a bar nearby" he said.  I was hoping he would point east but he pointed west.  Orlandos.  What the hell, I was going to Cumming anyway.

$2 Grainbelt TallBoys.  How does that new Order tune go?  "1 would not do it but 2 was far too much."  Yep, I almost left that establishment in a pile of dust.

Joe and I had allot of catching up to do.  Text Mary and revise meeting point.  Brad Buckley drops in.  Recap UAR.  Finally Mary arrives.  After she has two beers it is time to go.


I only have one key to my bike lock.  I purchased that lock after my Kryptonite lock (non-U-Lock) crapped out.  The key busted inside the lock while I was parked outside B&B SuperMarket.  Despite the best efforts of a retired locksmith i had to borroe a hack saw from John Brooks Sr  and cut the bastard off on a very cold and snowy day.  Hopefully, the key would be at home.

It was not.  I "borrowed" an abandoned Sears Free Spirit 3-speed from Orlandos' bike rack.  I spotted it from the trail earlier half expecting to see a Collective sticker on it.  Dropping in on conversations that evening I determined that this fine American machine had been there for over a week unlocked.  No one would notice if I stold it for a 10 mile round trip.  I left a deposit of greater value, my beloved Giant Via Raw complete with loaded panniers.  Mary rode with me.

Coaster brakes were quite good.  The front brake was noisy.  The seat infamously uncomfortable.  Why do cheapass bike have horrid saddles?  As for the gearing, I was able to shift it once and then back again.  The ride was that of a 70s vintage American sedan.  Shit,  steel wheels suck.  Much drift and noise.  But it rolled and that suited my purpose.

No joy at home.  Could not find the missing key.  PLAN B: Operation Hacksaw.  Small and light weight.  Black, the stealthy color.  The front of the blade broken off at the handle so it did not protrude unnecessarily.  I purchased this saw the day after Mary drove the car home with an orange traffic cone stuck in the tie rod.  It will do.  It will have to do.

The ride back was uneventful.  I was sobering up.  No tacos tonight.  Maybe Zombie Burgers or Mullets.  It was getting late and I have not been getting to bed on time for quite some time. Lord, I really need to orientate myself to the bedroom by 8 pm.  that 415 am alarm is a killer.

Two things I noticed about cutting the lock.  First, my left arm was killing my despite my right arm working the saw.  Second, nobody stopped to ask what I was doing or who's bike I was freeing.  Sometime I think you could rape a cop in public and nobody would disturb you. 

Oh well, a dead lock.  The key was bending anyway just like on the Krypto.  Just a matter of time before it busted inside the lock at a location without a Free Spirit to steal.  Just air up the tire at Casey's.  CRAP not only did I fail to purchase a new tube I DID NOT GET THE ONE FROM JOE THAT HE SAID I COULD HAVE!!!  Thank God (or the Great Secular Humanist if you play on the other team) that Casey's has free air.  I hate minipumps and my CO2 is on my road bike.  Cheap beer, pizza, ice and air.  I am glad those Canadian fucks did not buy out this Iowa Institution.

We ate at Mullets, splitting a huge plate of nachos.  Jess asked if I wanted a Molson.  No, not today.  Had my share of New Belgium on Sunday and GrainBelt tonight.  A Diet Coke with refills please and STAT.

I stopped at The Collective today after work, the day after.  Fix that puppy good.  Kept the old tube as an emergency spare.  Perhaps I will repatch it and get another 300+ miles out of it.  Hopefully when the next flat happens I will not be distracted, derailed and disturbed.


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