Tuesday, September 29, 2009
[Disclaimer: Due to an unforeseeable sports injury involving the blogging muscle, I have not updated in, to quote one reader, "a bazillion forevers." Posts previously conceived and/or composed, including this one, are being processed as quickly as possible and will be released when I goddamn get around to it! Please note that the time and date of posting bear little if any relation to those of the events recounted.]
So I took a very long bicycle tour the other day, and wouldn't you know it, the bike I bought from a street vendor for thirty-five euros isn't quite the most solidly built thing I've ever put my ass upon. (That honor, of course, being reserved for yo moms. Ach, schnappen!) Anyway, at about kilometer ten or twelve or so in the midst of crossing the street and attempted to make the right turn into the bicycle lane...
... and suddenly felt the front tire wobble out beneath me. While I'm, mind, more or less flush in the middle of the car lane. n what turned out to be a minor freeway's on-and-off-ramp. Thankfully no automobiles were terribly close by and I hobbled to the side of the road, legs stretched out on either side and tilting left and then right 'til sneakers scraped pavement.
On the sidewalk, the diagnosis was easy to make, even for a layman---the axle that connects the center of the handlebars down through a shaft at the front of the frame and joins the center of the front wheel, evidently the victim of pronounced metal fatigue, had been wrenched 90% of the way around, or far enough that the remaining portion clung on but hung over the side like the top of an opened can of tomatoes. It was, to put it lightly, not ridable for any farther distance.
I walked it (slowly, agonizingly, like tourist-visiting-New-York-City slowly) to the nearest S-Bahn stop (which was probably this one, if I recall correctly---out there), bought myself a ticket, bought the wounded bicycle a ticket, and wheeled it to the bicycle shop down the street (mercifully still open). I picked it up the next afternoon, good as new.
The next weekend I blew out the rear tire. Not far enough from home to take the train, it still felt like forever to walk it back to the bike shop. Although this time it was simple enough that I could get it fixed while I did my grocery shopping (conveniently, the store's across the street and I'd brought my bag).
These two trips, plus the front and rear lights I've had installed, have run to eighty euros plus. Which is more than double, not quite triple, the original price of the bike. And if you include the bike lock I bought from another shop, post-purchase investment is 314% of the sticker price.
... (about to be) reading: two books by Doris Lessing, whom I just realized I'd never before picked up before.
... listening: The National's Alligator. Boxers has two great songs at least and I loved Cherry Tree, that latter an EP, but am finally giving this one a try. Worth it.
... obsessed with: the possibility of creating a "Don't"-themed monster-mashup with Foreigner, Pussycat Dolls, Simple Minds, Crowded House, The Human League, ATB and Brazilian Girls (both "Don't Stop"), R.E.M. ("Don't Go Back to Rockville"), Feldberg's "Don't Be a Stranger", et al. If you're the kind of person who read that last sentence word-for-word, I would bet that now you are obsessed, too.