Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Perilous bike maintenance

Liberty is one of our cats, a chubby, long-haired calico with a sweet disposition and friendly attitude. She strongly resembles a football with fur and she greets me at the door when I come home from work. She's happy to see me in the morning, rubbing against my legs as I pour a cup of coffee. I'd let her sleep in the bedroom, but her loud purr and insistence on showing her affection by getting in my face are not conducive to falling asleep.

Besides, she produces the occasional Fart Of Joy. This is a noxious gas cloud that can clear a room in seconds. Even the dog leaves. The FOJ can occur when she's happy, frightened, hungry, anxious, or fast asleep. In short, it covers all occasions. Liberty remains sweetly oblivious.

I was in the garage working on the old Bianchi. For some reason, the cats are fascinated by the bike stand, my tools, and the various noises. I always have an audience and whatever I'm doing requires constant inspection. I'm careful to shoo them away when I'm using lubricants or solvents, but they seldom stay away for long.

Liberty hopped up on the work bench to peer into my tool box. Unlike some of the other cats, she doesn't steal small items for use as playthings. I kept a wary eye on her nonetheless. The garage is not well ventilated.

Through the open doorway, Mary announced that lunch was ready. Now, I may fascinate the cats while working on a bike, but they venerate Mary - and the refrigerator - as the Sources of All Goodness. They were gone in an instant. I took advantage of that to drop the bike out of the stand and add some air to the tires with a floor pump.

I hadn't ridden the bike since fall, mostly due to the knee problems plaguing me since last summer. In cold weather, the knee hurts more. The snow in February hadn't helped. Besides shoveling for three days, I'd nearly fallen twice and I twisted the knee both times. I've been hobbling around with a cane most days.

The pain gradually eased off and the knee felt more stable, not a hundred percent, but definitely improved. That lead to the bike maintenance session.

The Bianchi was finished. I planned to ride it around the neighborhood after lunch. The back tire, however, had other plans. Later, I found it separated between the casing and the wire bead, but at the moment, all I heard was a loud bang, almost like a pistol shot.

Something crashed to the floor. "Oh, no!" Mary wailed from the kitchen. She joined me almost immediately in the garage, slamming the door behind her. Cats frantically scratched at the other side. "That scared me and I dropped your sandwich," she said, "and Liberty...well...Liberty..." She didn't have to go on.

A few minutes later, I cautiously opened the door. Liberty was finishing off the salami from my sandwich, her muzzle covered in mayonnaise. I could feel Mary's glare boring holes in my back with laser precision. There's a spare tire somewhere in the garage. It would be a good opportunity to fix the bike and go for a ride. I'll have lunch later.

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Blogger Steve A said...

It's those durn eye tie bikes!

7:09 PM  
Blogger lemmiwinks said...

Let me go back in there and face the peril!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

No, it's too perilous.

(...and I haven't even looked at the hyperlink yet. Great mind think alike, you know.))

5:13 PM  

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