Monday, May 09, 2005

Trucks on the bulletin board...

WOW! I haven’t posted for a while! Things have been hectic at work, for one thing. We have 3 employees out on medical leaves, and I’m cross-trained on 2 of their jobs. So in addition to my normal workload, I’ve been asked to help out with theirs. It’s not a lot more work, but it does make for a busy day. I’ve been physically and mentally exhausted. And it’s difficult to write when it’s difficult to stay awake.

I counted eight trucks for sale on our bulletin board, as well as one motorcycle, a boat, and a Honda Accord whose main appeal was thirty miles per gallon. It looks like people are getting rid of their gas-guzzling dinosaurs. And it’s about time.

Meanwhile, the company has added a new bike rack up at the north end of the complex in order to accommodate the increasing numbers of commuting cyclists on the base. This is a wonderful development! I’m seeing more cyclists on area roads all the time.

In other news, I’ve been asked about doing a Scouts bicycle safety lecture. Actually, the Boy Scout bicycle merit badge material is very good. It’s similar to the Kids1 and Road1 material from the League of American Bicyclists.

Last night, a neighbor’s kid wanted me to fix his bike. First off, I noticed it had no brakes whatsoever. The front wheel was off. The axle was stripped. The kid was riding it by simply putting the fork down on top of the axle. There was no way to fasten it, and I couldn’t fix it without a new axle. I refused to work on the bike. I hated to turn the kid down, but I don’t need an irate parent suing me over something like this. Then my fourteen-year-old son said that riding brakeless is the ‘style’ now. I told him if he removed the brakes from his bike, I’d disassemble the bike entirely until not one part was touching another.

Then I sent off an e-mail to our local police chief, telling him of the incident and offering my help with any safety-related approach they wanted to take. I know that enforcing bicycle laws is not a top priority of the department, and I wasn’t asking for that. I just don’t want to read about a kid riding out into traffic because he couldn’t stop his bike.

Two additions to the Yard Dogs from Hell stories: I had to use my stick for the very first time, whacking a dog that was intent on biting me. He backed off quickly. The other news is that a passing motorist bunted one of the dogs into a ditch. This dog bit a runner not long ago, so it’s demise will be unlamented. It would be nice if the ‘owner’ would be responsible enough to get it up out of the ditch and bury it, but it appears the dog is going to rot there. It’s close to another neighbor’s mailbox, so they have to be aware of the animal if only from the smell. This dog’s owner has said that (1) the dogs belong to his father-in-law, (2) the dogs belong to his ex-wife, and (3) the dogs just kinda showed up one day and he’s been feeding them ever since. So they’re not actually HIS. Wonderful people.

We did another Road1 course over the weekend for some social services clients. I’d worked on a nice old Takara mixte last week that went to one of them. It was a ’79 model and when I looked closely, it didn’t show much usage. The rims weren’t even scored from the brake pads. The bike was in like-new condition, so all it needed was some lubrication and adjustment. I pulled the bottom bracket assembly out just to check the grease. The Lubriplate was yellowed with age but not dried out. Lubriplate will dry out if it gets wet.

Sandra had worked on a Giant MTB and still had some problems with it, so I looked it over too. There’s nothing like another set of eyes to find something we’ve missed! It had some loose fasteners and one of the chainrings was slightly bent, but it worked OK. I’m sure Sandra was amused by my habit of talking to myself while I work! I mutter a lot and ask myself questions. Dunno why, but it seems to help me stay focused and on track.

Finally (and not bicycle-related) I got the prints back from my daughter’s prom. I’d taken pictures of her and her friends and their dates with my old Rolleicord IV – think BIG negatives! – and Lyndsay was pleased. She said the prints look so much better than the 35mm. The Rolleicord gives 6cm x 6cm negatives, and the lens provides much more detail than a smaller format camera. The only drawback is that it’s more expensive. Still, I get a kick out of playing with a camera that’s nearly as old as I am! Old bike and old cameras are a lot of fun.


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