Monday, June 21, 2010

An Education


I thought I was going to be writing about my discriminating taste in bicycle pumps in my next post, but twas not to be. You can't get too picky when there are only two or three to choose from and only one of them is the foot pump style you're looking for. I might've exercised patience and searched the boundless variety of pumps offered by the internet if Praline's rear tire hadn't also gone flat. At the library, to make matters worse! I had to walk/ride her back to the house which made me nervous every time I went downhill. I didn't want to have to replace a whole wheel!

Mad with desperation, I headed to my nearest purveyor of bike supplies--Walmart. I bought a Bell foot pump, went home, and hoped some friend with a Y chromosome would happen by. I think two days later a friend of my aunt's came by and he just happened to have a ratchet set in his car. He was able to remove the hex bolts applied with superhuman-bike-mechanic-strength to Brown Betty. I already had an inner tube for Betty's skinny tires. After that, I though replacing the tube would be a simple job. I thought I'd learn so much from changing Praline's inner tube and the Mr. Lavender mishap. Apparently not. Somehow I messed up the cassette joint/hub gear assembly/gear shifting thingy and now I only have first gear.

Frustrated and confused, I called the bike mechanic who assembled Brown Betty, but he said it was difficult understanding the problem without being able to see the bike. He suggested that I e-mail him pictures so I did. While waiting on a response from him, I decided to also look for information at the library. After searching two library systems (always have more than one library card, if you can) for books on bicycle repair, I located the rather generic-sounding, "Bicycle Repair Manual," published in 2008. Surely, I would find some answers here. I found bubkes.

Now, with a week of coasting behind me--because I can only really pedal uphill--I'm anxious to take the monthly basic maintenance clinic at Out Spokin' Bikes. I literally could not wait for the third Monday of the month to arrive. I've never been to an event like this so I wasn't sure if it was kosher to bring your own bike. After all, when you go to a cooking class you don't bring your own food. I called to ask if it was okay and the guy on the phone told me that it was fine. Maybe I'll be able to get a walk-through of Betty's hub assembly if I show up early. I hope that I learn enough to avoid this sort of situation the next time I change a tire on any bike. I plan on taking notes and, possibly pictures. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Can't Believe It...


It's June, already! I'm finally (hopefully) closing in on a job. It's easy to get to via bus even though I have to transfer from Cobb County's transit system to Atlanta's. Both systems accommodate bikes on their buses and bikes are allowed on MARTA trains. All this is great for me--if I get the job--and what's better is that it will be an easy bike commute once I move into the city. The office is near the relatively calm and cyclist-friendly neighborhood called Morningside.

Finding a job is a job even when you're open to just about any position. I just need to make enough money in the near future to get me out of the sticks and back into the city. It boggles my mind to know how close I currently to shopping, banking, dining, etc. that I can't get to because it's all stretched along a highway. There's one bank in the "downtown" area of Acworth--Regions, the one that features bicycles in all of their commercials. They were also the only bank located in "downtown" Cartersville. I may have to switch banks.

It's really difficult to live a car-minimalist, organic/farmer's market shopping, vintage store browsing, recycling existence in a rural area. This is quite uncanny and irritating when you're surrounded by the beauty of nature and constantly reminded of how it should be cherished and protected.

On a completely different note, I've also been dealing with some technological issues that have deterred me from blogging. my computer is dying one component at a time; my ethernet port no longer functions and I have to get online by hooking up to the modem in the basement with a very short USB cable. The basement is cold; I hate the cold. My CD drive died first. I'm running out of disk space and I have malware that I just can't seem to get rid of slowing down my browser. I'm a hot computing mess and I've been entering computer contests at the library computer lab and praying feverish prayers for some divine intervention regarding this matter. To this end, I must share with you that a blog called The Fashionable Housewife is giving away an HP Touchsmart tm2 here and there. Yes, it's inappropriate, but I'll be so much more prolific in my blogging if I have WiFi and a warm place to sit.

On a cycling note, I've been riding a lot and I've even seen some other cyclists. I've been riding Praline for the past few weeks because Betty has a flat and, even though I have the replacement tube, I can't fix her because the hex bolts were applied with the superhuman strength of a bike mechanic and I can't remove them. (I guess Monty Python was on to something). Getting on Praline after riding Betty for so long felt really funky at first--I felt scrunched up--and I didn't look forward to standing up to pedal up big hills. The next day, however, it felt like I'd never ridden another bike.

I'll recruit someone brawnier than myself to get the bolts off. In the meantime, I'll be looking for a bicycle pump. I had one of those air compressors you plug into the car, but it was borrowed and broken. I'm sure it's a lot more practical to have a bicycle pump when you're planning on living in an apartment so expect some pump related posts soon.