i was surprised this morning by an e-mail from a craig's list seller. i contacted him a few days ago about a brand new schwinn pillow top cruiser bicycle seat he was selling for $10. i'm actually familiar with that seat because it's the one i use for my bianchi. "pillow top" is probably a stretch, it's more like a stiff mattress. there are probably plenty of seats that are more comfortable, but i figured for $10 it was still a bargain. anyway, the seller didn't contact me and i figured he already sold it - until today that is. i called him back and said i was still interested. we agreed to meet at the kendall/MIT subway station at 12:30.
by bicycle it's only a 10 minute ride to kendall square from my place. i took that for granted and almost missed the appointment because i figured i had plenty of time to spare. i rode my bianchi because it had a milk crate and i needed some way to carry my acquisition home. i knew the area well from having worked on binney street. i parked the bike in front of the hotel and took a shortcut through the busy lobby (a convention was in town) to the T station. i waited about 10 minutes before i called the seller; he must've had the same idea because we called each other at the same time. he was foreign, something made me think dutch. not only did he have the seat, he also had the original amazon.com box it came in. i gave him a $20, he slipped me $10 in change. craig's list transactions always feel shady to me. two people meeting in a public place, money is exchanged, item purchased.
i love looking at bicycles but i always feel self-conscious, like somebody will think i'm a thief trying to figure out how to steal a ride (that seems to be a common theme in my everyday life, a guilty conscious i suppose). parked right next to me was a beautiful raleigh superbe roadster. i actually thought it said "superbee" at first. that's the style of bikes i like: that classic shape, wide handlebars, fenders, rack. this one had a 3-speed hub drive and hub-dynamo-driven front and rear lights.
since it was around lunchtime, i went to see if i could get something from the famous food trucks. unfortunately, not only could i not find the trucks, but the grassy field where they used to park was gone as well, replaced by several new office buildings. the only one i saw was a nondescript white chinese truck parked by the side of the road. disappointed, i returned home.
i wasn't in the house for more than a few minutes before i was back outside again, this time with the newly-tuned ross bike, ready for a trial run. so much for an uneventful maiden voyage: the chain immediately fell off the rear sprocket as soon as i started to pedal. not only that, but the chain itself got caught in between the cassette and the frame of the bike, and i couldn't pull the chain out without getting my tools and dirtying my hands from all the chain grease. once i did get the chain back on the cassette, i spent some time adjusting the derailleur and retightening the shifter cable so the chain wouldn't fall off again.
finally, with the bike tuned for a 2nd time, i was ready to roll. it rides pretty well, the wide handlebars making it seem more maneuverable. the brakes were a little spotty, and i could feel the bike shuddering as the front brake tried to clamp down onto the wheel rim (probably didn't help that i used WD40 yesterday to clean the tires, compounded by the old brake pads). the bike has 7 speeds, but i was going slow enough that i really didn't need the additional gears. i rode in 2nd gear (or whatever gear number is one above the smallest cog), even when i went uphill. despite the slower style, it still felt faster than my usual speed because of the 26" wheels. the seat is also a little higher, and i can only put my toes down while seated if i lean the bike. fortunately, because the bike has the more "feminine" style of the slanted top tube, i'm never at risk of groin injuries if i hop off the seat to get more stability at stops (though normally when i ride, i try not to stop, balancing myself on the bike as long as possible).
i left the cafe with some "lion head" meatballs and "mantou" buns. i ran into pau and katarina, who were stopping by the cafe for lunch. when i got home i put the bike away in storage. it's no use to me until i can get a rear rack for it, which i'll order next week.
the pants i ordered from gap arrived today. they fit perfectly (as they should, since i've ordered from them in the past and know my exact size). i got a pair of black jeans which i think will be my new favorite pants. the fabric is denim but it looks like dress pants because it's so black.
i ate the meatballs and the buns for a late lunch, while rewatching last night's episode of fringe. it was such a big meal that by dinnertime i still wasn't hungry (i did finally finish a little bit of my pasta leftover from a few nights ago). pau came home briefly with katarina, said he was spending the night at her place and then left.
with no roommate around, i decided to talk a hot bath before going to bed; a little incense, a glass of cold water, and the latest issue of entertainment weekly (the one with naked anne hathaway and jake gyllenhaal on the cover). i usually like to soak for an hour, or however long it takes me to finish reading the magazine from cover to cover. i love that feeling of getting out of the tub and my body is still steaming, like i'm burning up. it was only 74 degrees in the bathroom, but probably 100% humidity; in the rest of my house it was just 60 degrees.