A Rush

Take 4 or 5 things that you have really been looking forward to or hoping for: think about what it would mean to get/have happen each one of these things. Now put them all into a 6 hour time block. That was my day and I'm a bit euphoric.

Having left work early today, the first thing on the agenda was getting the Sears (which I have named Bernard) to the shop. James was in again today and listened quietly while I pointed out the obvious problem and then swung my beloved Bernard up into his workstand. "This is not a problem" he stated as he grabbed his tools. Of course my little heart soared at this prognosis and I asked him why it had happened. He stated that he had not previously wanted to tighten the nut holding the wheel in place too much as this could cause it to sheer. He said depending on how much torque was applied to it while I was pedaling just the motion of pedaling could cause it to become misaligned. He explained that if it was in high gear at a point that I was starting out from a stop or near stop this could have caused it. And the light bulb went on! On Sunday right before the mishap, I had been in 3rd gear as the trail was a bit downhill. I came up behind a family with several children and some of them darted over to the left of the trail as I was about to pass. I braked hard and then had to wait a moment for bikers coming the opposite way to pass. Not 10 seconds after getting going again the problem arose. So I now understand the importance of shifting into a lower gear when appropriate. James also talked about making sure the gear is engaged and demonstrated several times how it is important with this type of bike to NOT pedal while shifting and to even pedal backwards slightly to engage the internal gears. So within minutes my bike (oh beautiful old bike) was ready to roll again.

Then the surprise. James asked if I wanted to see his Hercules which he had finished working on. Um, of course. So we go through to the back of the shop and he's grinning as he shows it to us. And then he asked if I would test ride it for him--he wanted me to tell him how it rode and if anything seemed amiss. I quickly objected and reminded him that I am not quite *cough* a bicycle expert. He said the bike was my size and he wanted an objective opinion. Of course I wanted to ride it, so I said sure. He joked that basically he wanted me to say his was better. So I got to take this glorious old Hercules out into the parking lot and ride around for several minutes. I felt like I was floating. And I even managed to notice that the front brake was rubbing slightly. Riding that bike was a real treat, let me tell you. It made me think about what wonderful machines bicycles are. It made me think about the simplicity and mechanical genius of a bicycle. And of course it made we really happy that I had found someone with a love of old bikes like myself. Oh, yeah, and James didn't charge me a penny to put Bernard back together again. He helped me make sure my seat was adjusted correctly and chatted a few minutes about selling his Hercules. Man, I wish I could buy that beautiful old thing. I am starting to realize that bicycles are addicting and it's extremely easy to want several. One last thing about getting Bernard fixed: Bernie--I'm sorry for hating your old soul the other night and I'm sorry for flirting with that new bicycle online.

There was still plenty of daylight left after we left the bike shop so we rushed home and grabbed the Huffy and set out for the trail. On the way, we actually discovered a small trail randomly so we decided to give it a shot. It ended up being a bit more than we newbies could handle. I ended up walking up two little hills, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf. Then at the top of the hill, we realized it was time for plan B. The hill was quite steep and, given that my brakes are not good at all and the Huffy only has coaster brakes, we turned back. The trip back to the truck was quick and easy. I actually don't think I pedaled at all on the way back. I did burn up my brakes a bit. We headed for the fateful trail where the mishap took place. This time was much better. The trail had far fewer people today and it was a nice fairly flat ride. There is a bit of a hill in one place and a bigger bit of a hill near the one end. I'll try and get some pictures up soon as this trail turns truly beautiful as it passes a lake. I got pretty worn out near the end of our ride, but Llama encouraged me and I really pushed myself to make it the whole way. My legs were on fire and I had to take them off the pedals and stretch them straight to get the pain to ease at all, but we took our time and I was proud I had made it the whole way.

You might think that all that makes for a pretty good biking day and I'd agree. But that's not all, folks. I happened to check craigslist check when we got back and spotted something I thought might be a good find. I contacted the seller via email and waited for a response, checking my email every few minutes. Not more than an hour had passed before I got a call and set up a meeting this very evening. I was determined to be discerning and not simply add another hunk of crap like the Huffy to my "stable" (every now and then I like to go into "cyclespeak" and pretend I know what I'm talking about). Llama was hesitant to go and didn't want to spend more money on another bike. I convinced her as the seller lived literally a mile and a half down the road.

So again of we went in the old truck, me resolving not to even consider it seriously if there were any problems. We met Jim and looked at the bike, me pretending I might actually be able to spot a problem. Well, I mean I know in general some things about bicycles and after the quick once over tried to be a bit more thorough, but I was getting excited. No rust, decals still in place, tires fine, brakes great, no frame cracks. Jim said he was selling it as his wife had just upgraded to a newer bike. This one they had had at least 15 years and it was older than than. The last and most important part was the test ride. I let Llama have at it as the intention was that this would replace the Huffy she has been graciously riding. She rode around a bit, fumbled with the gears and we decided to buy it. The moment we got that thing home she wanted to ride it some more. No matter that it was far past dark, she rode around the parking lot for about 15 minutes, getting used to the gears and enjoying the faster feel of a road bike after the relative torture of the Huffy (which is a one speed cruiser type with wide knobby tires).

When we finally got it inside I started looking over it closely. By this time, I was already suffering bike envy, but the more I looked it over, the greener I got. This bike is seriously sweet. I want another one. We looked it up on the internet and I got even more excited/jealous. The detail of the metal, the unique frame, the curved, but still straightish handlebars. It's beautiful. And I am so excited to get out again tomorrow and ride. I'll plan on taking several pictures of the new bike and posting them as well. We found this page, which seems to be the exact bike. Well, ours has no accessories, no lights or rack, no frame pump and ours is white. But check out the super cool frame. Let me know what you think of it:

Today was a cycling dream. The whole rollercoaster of emotions through the week was worth it for today. I'm still flying. It's almost like...well the rush of riding a bike.


  1. Wow, another cool old bike to make me jealous! That is a gorgeous mixte frame! What a great find. So glad to hear the Sears is okay, too. Hope you get good weather this weekend to enjoy them both!

  2. What a lovely story of a lovely bike!! I'm looking for a similar bike but am not finding anything good in my area. Lynn sent me in this direction to check out your luck with Craigslist. I see you live in the Triangle. I'm from NC and went to school at UNC-CH. I kinda miss it sometimes...

  3. I have had very good luck with craigslist. There are usually days at a time when nothing good is listed and just about when I get tired of refreshing the page to see what's new something wonderful pops up! Another avenue might be to see if there are bicycle recycling programs in your area. I know there are a couple in the Triangle and they let you work in the shop doing small things to "earn" your bike. I love this time of year here when we get to cheat and get spring early! You can email me if you want to chat more about your bike search llamasand at yahoo.