Monday, June 13, 2005

Flat tire blues...

I worked on bike stuff for a little while yesterday, replacing the worn cleats on my cycling shoes and tinkering with the fixed gear. Then guilt set in and I went outside to do yard work.

My neighbor has some willow trees that shed branches every time the wind blows, and the wind always blows in Oklahoma. We had a storm last week that downed a lot of branches. They’re always in my yard, never his. Imagine that. Could it be possible that he tosses them over the fence? I should have killed those trees before they built back there.

I carried the loppers, the bow saw, and a chainsaw into the back yard and got to work. The chainsaw was being balky, of course, and it wouldn’t stay running for more than a few seconds. I quickly discovered that this was because it had very little fuel, and there wasn’t any more in the garage. Oh well. I switched to the bow saw and started cutting. The whole chore took no more than 45 minutes. I filled the red yard waste can and dragged it to the curb.

Jordan had started mowing the front yard as I worked out back. We both finished at about the same time, and went in for a glass of water. Somehow, he never got started again. I’ve found it’s easier to start the mower or any other reluctant power tool than it is to start that teenager! They really should come with a big pull-starter in the center of their backs. It rained in late afternoon and the grass still hadn’t been cut.

My original intention – before getting hijacked to do lawn work – was to find and eliminate the squeak in my Bianchi. Last week, the squeak appeared on both commuter bikes. I’d noticed that it came and went at what seemed to be pedal rpm, so I naturally suspected the problem was in my shoes. That’s why I replaced the worn cleats. The worst part was getting the old bolts out. Three came out with difficulty. The fourth stripped. I ended up drilling it out. The new cleats are slightly different. They don’t ‘float’ and they fit much more tightly.

So I was looking forward to today’s commute. The weather overnight was awful – another storm – and I didn’t look in the back yard for downed branches this morning. I should have. Then I’d know if my neighbor was tossing them over the fence. The streets were still wet, so I planned to ride the Centurion rather than the Bianchi. The Centurion has fenders. I discovered it also has a flat tire. Grumble, grumble. Switch to plan B. Ride the Bianchi.

Once I was off the residential streets the surface was much drier. The bike and I didn’t get too grimy or wet. But about halfway to work, a different squeak started! I can’t win!


Post a Comment

<< Home