Thursday, September 04, 2008

Live to Ride Another Day

Bike on Bike Love from Kronda Adair on Vimeo.

Today was the summer day I've been wishing for and just needed the weather to cooperate. I was scheduled to take my MTB in to River City for it's routine maintenance check up, which gave me the perfect opportunity to break out my TrayBien and perpetrate some more bike on bike love. I continue to be amazed at how smoothly the BD handles everything I can throw at it, though I really shouldn't be. Before I actually had mine, I spent plenty of time reading BD blogs and viewing BD porn on Flickr and they all pretty much said the same thing.

2008_0803_330_vancouver_day4I cruised over to the dentist's office, where Jess was just finishing up. Aaron, the dentist, told her that she is one of the few people that he would gladly trade teeth with, making her officially, the dentist's pet. She's quite proud, as well she should be. Check out those pearly whites! Aaron is also an avid cyclist and sometime bike racer, so he came out to ogle my new and old toy.

From there we embarked on a little circle of bike shopping that we would eventually reverse. It started with a call to someone from the OBRA racing list who might have a drop bar that would work for Jess's new Cross Check that she's building up. He happened to live about a mile from Aaron's office and he was home, so we headed over. After procuring the bar, it was off to Seven Corners to see Corey and drop off more bike parts.

If I spend any more time in that shop, I'm hoping to take home a paycheck. Oddly, when I go in there, I usually have a bunch of things to work on, and as soon as I go in, 80 other people walk through the door, and I spend three hours there. Jess waited about five minutes and then had Corey's undivided attention--at least between handfuls of chocolate covered peanuts, which he even shared. The shop was like a ghost town for at least forty five minutes.

During that time, Jess gave him measurements for setting up her bike and made a tough decision about which shade of blue bar tape would best go with her navy blue Chris King headset, sending Corey into fits of uncontrollable giggles. But supportive giggles.

From there we had lunch at the Clinton Corner Cafe. We sat outside and had a whole 20 minutes of fresh air before someone at the next table started smoking. But that's a rant for another day. The food was good and we watched people ogle the Dummy as they walked by, and we ogled all the bikes of the commuters riding by.

Clinton street could be considered the heart of bikey Portland and there were a lot of hot bikes to watch, including a TON of Surlys. It seems lately as if Surly might be taking over the world. Corey told us that 7-Corners is the third largest Surly dealer in the U.S. which maybe explains it. We even saw another Big Dummy ride by and I couldn't stop myself from shouting "Dummy!" at the guy. He looked over at us, but he was plugged into his Ipod, moving fast and my Dummy was hidden behind a parked car so I'm sure he didn't see it. I was sad I wasn't riding when I saw him so we could compare notes. But with all the folks at shops who said they were in the process of building one up, I'm sure I'll be seeing more of my fellow Dumb riders on the road soon.

After that it was off to River City to exchange some parts and pick up some others. In addition to dropping off my MTB for service, I had notice that the seat bag I bought in June was already ripping at the seams. That got replaced with no problems, and returning our seat posts was equally smooth. We bought straight when we needed set back. They didn't have any in stock, so we'll probably be making the rounds at some more shops tomorrow.

The small hitch came when I tried to exchange an old River City long sleeve wool jersey. I got it as a gift and I've had a long time, but haven't worn it much because it's shown a disturbing tendency to fall apart. I pulled it on the other day and discovered *five* new holes. Fresh from my success exchanging my three year old Keens that were literally falling apart at the seems for shiny new ones at REI, I was hoping for similar luck here.

Mark, the manager came out to talk with me while he seemed receptive and willing to accommodate at first, he ultimately decided the holes were from moths and instead offered to sell me a new one at a discount. "That's OK, I've given you guys enough of my money," I said, and it's true. I've probably spent close to $4k in dead mom money in the past two years just at RC. I'm trying to ease out of the rampant shopping mode in preparation for school. I hung up the new shirt I'd been holding up to see if it would fit and held out my hand. He could tell I was pissed and wouldn't give me the old shirt at first. "Can I have my shirt back?"

"Yeah, you can have it." But it was another few seconds before he handed it over. I could almost see him trying to figure out how to save the situation. I wasn't pissed that he said no, so much as that he said yes first, and then backed out. Either have a policy and stick to it, or make a decision and stick to it. I thought it was really poor form. I went back to find Jess and told her, "Well Dorothy, we're not at REI anymore." I like River City, and generally have good or great experiences there, but I also make sure I buy things I don't think I'll need to return. As a small shop, they tend to be a little stricter about such things. The jersey swap was a long shot to begin with, but I didn't like being given false hope.

Corey had mentioned concerns that Jess's used drop bar might be a little narrow, so she spent quite a bit of time looking at other sizes and talking to Brandon, our favorite mechanic (and the manager of the dept). He helped us for over an hour when we went in to buy the bulk of the parts for our bikes and was super patient and nice. He offered to let Jess bring her bike in and try the bars she thought she wanted but I gently suggested maybe she should just buy them and have them installed in the first place.

"She's ready to strangle me," Jess told Brandon. Not exactly true, but I could already envision the frustration of getting a new bike that didn't quite fit, coming into RC to maybe find they didn't have what she needed in stock--let's just say her luck is not that great in general, and I thought it best to get while the getting was good.

Where does the day go? Suddenly it was 5:45 and we had 15 minutes to pay for the bars and hustle them back over to Corey's, which we did. As the public relations manager of the relationship, I got to call the OBRA guy and see if he would take the bars back and return our funds, which he promptly agreed to do. Classy guy. And that brought us full circle on our shopping journey.

On the way home, we stopped to see Lisa, Spike and Essex. Because of my cold, which is not quite gone, I couldn't touch the baby and it was pretty much torture. But he was still fun to watch. I tried to give my leftover snuggles to Otis the dog, but he was laying down some farts that had to be smelled to be believed. We were were relieved when Spike decided to take him on a walk.

When we left, we headed through the Mississippi neighborhood and north on Interstate to stop at New Seasons on our way home. Just before Killingsworth, we were almost mowed down by a huge semi that passed us with inches to spare, although there was an entire empty left turn lane he could have used to pass us safely. Jess screamed and nearly had a heart attack. I was calmer in the moment, and veered onto the sidewalk at the first opportunity. Then we both sprinted to the corner, where the lethal trucker was sitting at a red light. His windows were closed, but I'm sure he knew why we were both screaming at him.

"Too close!" yelled Jess.

"You almost killed us!" I added.

His reply was to rev his engine a couple of times and give us a look that said plainly that he really didn't give a sh*t if he killed us. As long as I live, I will always fail the Save vs Comprehend-idiots-who-have-no-regard-for-others throw. (Blame Wil for the D&D reference). We stayed on the side walk until he was well past, and I waited till we were safely parked at New Seasons to get the shakes. That was definitely my closest call of the summer. I sure would hate to die when things are going so well.

But we're both fine and we'll live to ride another day. And despite the occasional jerk off, I'll still take two wheels over C/offins/ars any day. Amazing that over 40,000 people die per year due to car crashes and we're so ingrained in car culture as a country that we largely accept it as a given.

Speaking of cars, anyone interested in buying a 2000 Toyota Camry? In great shape, hardly driven.

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