Get That Pinko Cyclist…

So the weather’s been dreamy this week which is a big change on the bicycle. In the sun it’s downright perfect and in the shade… well, let’s just say that I can already see I won’t make it far into late autumn or winter before I hang up the bike shoes. Anyway, I’m on my way home yesterday and although I didn’t know it at the time, right as my new speedometer hits 900 miles on the nose, my tire blows out. So I’m under I-64 on a bench next to the river with my blown out tire, my plantar fasciitis, my incredibly awkward-walking clip-in bike shoes and I don’t have a cel phone. What I do have in a wee pouch under my seat is a spare tube, little plastic tire changing tools and under the crossbar of the frame is a hand pump. Of course I’m not too thrilled about this option because the spare is at least 10 years old and I’ve never used the pump… but this is why I have them. So I sit on a handy bench by the river and take my back wheel off and start working on my tire change when I realize that in the 10 years since I put that spare in there, my eyesight has gotten so bad that I can barely see what I’m doing and that I should stick a pair of reading glasses in the pouch too. So the whole thing was a bit of an ordeal but I got it changed and although the pump could hardly get enough air to support my weight, I was mobile again. Now backup just a bit, right as I’m almost finished a drunk guy on a bike is riding by and sees me and slows down and says, “got a flat?”. Not wanting to illustrate my inability to make smalltalk, I say… “yeah”. He stops and comes over to the bench and he reeked of shellac… oh wait, it wasn’t shellac, it was booze. He says, “you need to take it to the bike shop up on 2nd and Market”. I didn’t know there was a bike shop there and it’s about 6 blocks from where I’m at but I figure even if I can get enough air in, I’ll ride up there and have them fill my tire to the proper PSI. Then the dude gets chatty. He keeps asking me to look at how great his bike is and that it’s a 1980 model. He keeps saying, “nice, eh?” and “this thing will flat-out roll, I mean, it’ll flat-out roll”. I struggled to come up with an admiring comment about the fortified welds where the frame connects and that only seemed to encourage him. So after a couple more “go to 2nd and Market and they’ll fix you right up”s and “this beauty will flat-out roll”s, I bid him adieu (I said “later” in reality) and start towards 2nd Street. After about 1/10 of a mile… another blowout. After I mild bout of cussing, I resign myself to the walk of pain. When I get to 2nd and Market, there’s no bike shop and I’m thinking I’m pretty much a dumbass for taking advice from the drunk guy. So I walk towards 1st St. to ask if someone knows of a bike shop around there and halfway down the block I see the shop… it’s at 1st and Market. He was actually pretty close. I go in and the bike shop dude says, “what’s your problem?” I say I got a flat. He says, “no problem” and I say I also don’t have any money on me. He says, “well, that is a problem”. I borrow the phone and call Mom to come get me and tell the guy to go ahead and fix the tire and when my ride comes I’ll pay him. So he comes back from the exclusive bicycle-repair-shop-no-customers-allowed-beyond-this-point area and tells me that he’s out of moderately priced tires and only has two to choose from. The cheaper of the two is either pink or blue and that pink wheels will make the bike go faster. I say… give me the pink. While I’m waiting a younger dude comes in with knee brace thingies on both knees. He starts chatting with the bike repair dude and I overhear (read: eavesdrop) him say, “I finally got the pickax attached to the back of my bike so I can dig…” and I didn’t get the rest. I figure he’s making a joke about his bike being on it’s last leg and he’s telling the guy that he’s prepared to bury it when it finally drops dead. A little time passes and I go out the front door to see if I can see Mom and Sofia coming down Market St. In the bike rack in front of the shop is the younger dude’s yellow bike and there is a full-sized pickax bungee corded to the top of the back fender. Hmmm. Mom’s not coming yet so I go back in and finally I can’t restrain myself and ask the guy what the pickax is for. He says, very unsatisfactorily, “to dig holes with”, then, “I like to garden around town and need to dig holes” and almost as an afterthought… “sometimes through concrete”. I can’t figure out which question of the 17 I have floating around in my head to ask next or how to ask without it sounding like I’m calling him a lunatic so I just pass and leave it at that. Of course someone was really happy that I got a pink tire on my bike and it just so happened to match her shirt…

She also insisted since I was taking her picture that I manage to get her new shoes in the shot…

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7 Responses to “Get That Pinko Cyclist…”

  1. Zygote Says:

    Pink flat-out rolls!

  2. Tracey Says:

    I’m glad you don’t ride with my husband! he has about as many epics as you, the two of you would never make it home 🙂
    Got to hold your bowls last night and I had a couple of people ask me” how does he do that?” I mumbled something about shellac and grain alcohol and they stared at me blankly…. the bowls are sooooo thin, I thought they would be heavier, so lovely!!

  3. Connie Says:

    Wow, what a story!!! I’m glad you found the bike shop. I love the pink.

    I agree with Tracey, when I got you beer stein. I was blown away by how thin it was. I’m sure you bowls are just as nice.

  4. ang Says:

    ok so really what was the pick for???

    • jim Says:

      hi ang, he didn’t seem particularly nefarious so i just took him at his word (whatever his word was… it didn’t make sense to me)

  5. meredith@whynot Says:

    Hi Jim- pink works well it takes a real man to be happy with pink tires and the bug is getting so tall- cute as a bug that girl is.
    Wished you could have s=come to be with us- next time?!

  6. Kern-Kern Says:

    I’m gonna call you Hilary ’cause yer hilarious.

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