Bicycling

Bicycling and Sailing updates

Per the Brompton Dream, the walks are continuing, but I’ve been slow. Some minor health problems popped up this week, so haven’t been racking up the Brompton Bucks the way I’d have liked. I’m hoping things will improve in the next week or so.

I did get my green Novara in to the bike shop for an evaluation. Transporting it was more difficult than I thought it’d be. I put the back seats of my Prius wagon down (I’m fairly certain Priuses and Subaru Outbacks, account for 80% of the cars in this city), and tried to wedge the bike into the back, but it was too unwieldy. Ah, right, that’s why the front wheel comes off. I tried to get the front wheel off. It didn’t work. Oh right, you have to un-do the brake cables. Sure. Okay. That took me several minutes. Are the neighbors watching? I’ve been fighting with this bike for fifteen minutes, I probably look like an idiot. Wait, I’m going to pick now to care what the neighbors think?

Focus, focus. Finally, finally, I wrestle the front wheel off, but as I hoist the front fork up, the bike crashes into my leg, slams against my shin, and I fall forward into the back of the car, dropping the front wheel and cursing my lack of a folding bike. So I’m not graceful today.

I drove to the bike shop (BikeSport), wondering how big the bruise on my shin was going to get (turns out: pretty big). I thought I might need a tune-up, but the bike mechanic lifted it onto a stand and began turning the pedals, watching and listening for things. I’ve no idea what, but it reminded me of all the times I would flip my bike over as a kid, and pretend to fix it, or wind things through the spokes. Then he told me to go walk around the store and keep myself busy and he’d call me over when he had something to tell me. Keep myself busy in a bike store. Hmmm.

It’s quite a mix of feelings being in a bike store, the same mix I get when loitering in REI or West Marine or Captain’s Nautical. I want to buy all these things to have all these adventures, but I’m aware that I’m not in any kind of shape to use them. So I stand there, getting excited and inspired, but trying to temper it with reality: I’m very out of shape, and I have a chronic pain condition. I try to let in enough reality that I don’t buy anything I won’t use, but stay as close to that excitement and sense of adventure as I can, because hell, who wants to lose that? I shopped the fancy bike baskets, ogled the Ortleib panniers (literally the only pannier I see on riders around here – is it a cult?), decided if I needed shiny fenders (of COURSE I do! but not today), wondered if the expensive Brooks saddles were as comfortable as they looked (I thought fondly of Ezra), and this very pink wind-proof jacket that reminded me of a stylish (*cough*) neon-pink windbreaker I had during my freshman year of high school.

In the end I didn’t buy any of that – I bought something very practical; a small hand pump. I need to learn how to change a tire. It may not be the most adventurous item in the store, but the practicality of it reminded me that I’m at least getting out there. Someday I’ll come back for the fancy panniers and the bright pink jacket.

Eventually he called me over, and declared I didn’t need a tune-up after all. Something about adjusting some derailleurs? And something was bent, and he fixed that? I was trying to pay attention, but I don’t know the names of any parts, so it went over my head, but I did find out that they have bike maintenance classes in the next few months. I might want to look into that.

So the Novara is now home. And of course, once I got the front wheel on (with the same amount of cursing, but no bruising; improvement!), now the brakes were so tight that I couldn’t move the wheel forward. Friends have been coming to my rescue with suggestions. I’ll figure it out.

Sailing

Waiting on some Coast Guard paperwork, and I need to find the manual so I know what kind of oil to get so I can change the oil with MY NEW OIL PUMP. I have one now, all shiny and still in the package. All I have to do is get the right oil, and then find someone to help me change it – a procedure I’ve never done before. At least, not on a boat. I used to change the oil in my VW bus, and I even gave it a tune-up once, in 1996, with the help of some nice guys on a Volkswagen IRC channel. It sounds crazy, but it worked. I’d run into the house, sit down at my orange iMac (I miss those!), and type out a question. They’d tell me the answer, sometimes argue amongst themselves first, and then I’d run back out to the driveway and start unscrewing things.

My favorite time was the day I was trying to change the oil, and I unscrewed what I thought was the right bolt, ran in, and said, “Uh, you guys, there is no oil coming out, I thought you said the oil would pour out?” They just lost it. Apparently I’d unscrewed the bolt that held up the engine? Something like that. They kept saying, “The bolt in the middle? You took out the bolt in the middle?” And then they were yelling, “PUT IT BACK, PUT IT BACK.” I miss the old days of the internet.

Got a half hour of sailing in with my Aunt and Uncle aboard their new boat, the other day. We brought her back from CSR through the locks, and hoisted the main for a little while before they settled into their guest dock at Shilshole. Their boat is a gorgeous 47’ Catalina, and the mainsail is just….huge. At least as compared to ours. We had something like 25 knot gusts, so my Uncle said we’re going to reef, and gave me directions. I wrapped the line around the winch and then started turning, and turning, and turning. I wasn’t halfway through before my arms gave out, and my Aunt took over. I tried to laugh it off, but I was frustrated. I hate fibromyalgia, so much. I love sailing, so much. There has to be a way to beat fibro, and I’m going to find it. If part of that cure involves watching The Walking Dead and eating copious amounts of Indian food, I’m totally on my way.

Categories: Bicycling, Sailing

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