Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cycle commuting: the lonely post

Yes. I continue to remain "The Midwest Bicycle Commuter" even in my hiatus from updating this blog. I have never stopped being "The Midwest Bicycle Commuter", though I have recently left this post unattended.

Last year, while I didn't write about it, I rode my bicycle the 2.5 miles to and from my classroom at the high school where I teach English through heat, rain, cold, dark, wind, and some snow. It was the snow which brought about my first big interruption in commuting by bicycle there during the entirety of the two school semesters which make up the school year. In the past, before last winter, I'd been forced to drive instead, as much as three days in a row due to deep melted snow frozen to ice. Last winter it was a matter of almost a full school week where it was flat a bad idea for me to try to follow through with my usual mode of travel.

I took that time at the beginning of January to put my bike into the shop in the next town above us to the north, a university town much bigger than where me and my family reside. there I had them build a new back wheel around a new Sturmey- Archer internal geared three speed hub. After six years of riding on the hub that came on the bike when I bought it used, it finally wore out.

The bike shop I took it to sort of took their time, initially. I believe they looked at the bike I brought it and immediately placed it low upon their priority list. I say this because of the old age of the bike. I'm unsure of the manufacture year of the Takara, but something tells me it's from the 80' or older. I've got different lights attached to it with a good deal of "jury rigging" of other items which add to the lackluster appearance. Of course I have the collapsing wire baskets on the rear, and an unpopular handle bar made for upright riding. It's dirty and looks old and not a precision made instrument of handling and performance. That's why I think they immediately relegated it to the bottom of the "to do" list. It might look to some people as if I just removed my bicycle from storage in the garage and the last it's seen service is from it year of manufacture, and they may be mistaken into believing the bicycle to be rarely used. I hope by now, the myriad of my readers will know that to be far from the case.

So, I like to give the benefit of the doubt to businesses and not attempt to interfere too much, so as they can do their job; since, afterall, I am often of the opinion that they are the experts and I should leave things in their capable hands. So, I didn't call them until a full week transpired without hearing a word from them.

When I did finally talk to them, they had forgotten to order the hub. So, I got the story about that and how they were doing right now and it would be ready at the beginning of next week.

By this time, the roads are navigable again, yet I still drove my vehicle, being without my bicycle. So, at the conclusion of the second full week, I again called them, as they had not contacted me with any change in status, though their E.T.A. for the completed work and bicycle had come and gone. It was then I learned they had somehow ordered the wrong hub and received the incorrect hub as a result. Okay.

It was during this conversation with the head mechanic of their shop, that I attempted to communicate to him the importance of my bicycle to me and how I am currently not riding it, since it is in their shop. That, contrary to what they may think about the extreme low temperatures involved in winter, I ride during that time of year and the absence of my bike was preventing that. That it was not a bicycle I pulled from my basement to prepare months in advance of spring.

I finally was notified the work was complete and I went to pick it up at the conclusion of the third full week they had it to order the hub, lace the spokes onto it, and install it and the new shifter.

There. That's full disclosure. I have started out this school year, the first two weeks, by commuting by bicycle again.

Currently, I need a rear red blinking light replacement, and a new pair of rain pants. The last pair of pants I purchased in a pants/jacket rain suit set was cheap indeed and the pants developed a big hole which became a large tear from there, after only a few times I needed to wear them.

Interestingly, through the summer I barely rode my bicycle. I took my sons on different rides, in different combinations a few times, but I rarely found myself with small errands to be done which could be accomplished on bicycle.

It's my goal to return to a routine update of this blog. I hope readers find it valuable, or entertaining, or valuable because of its entertainment. At any rate, I conclude this most recent post of the Midwest Bicycle Commuter. I encourage any and all to leave a comment, please, with any appropriate views, information, or stories, or suggestions for content. Thank you for reading, and keep on commuting by bicycle!

1 comment:

  1. Would be a bit more of a drive for you, but we have been happy with Capps bike shop in topeka. We have just gotten into cycling this summer, purchased two mountains bikes off Craig's list, had them both in for tune ups, and have broken spokes twice now, so we've been frequent flyers with them so far. Lol Found your blog on Kansas Cyclist and am enjoying reading through it.

    We, too, have a cycling blog.


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