you know you have a bike problem when there are two bicycles parked inside the house: one in the kitchen, one in the living room. i don't even have a big place, so it's essentially like parking two cars. when did my place become a bicycle garage?
i was eager to install the new fenders onto the trek 800, and went out this morning and brought the bike inside so i could work in comfort. i flipped the bike upside down so i could get a better view, being careful not to touch the greasy chain or the sprockets. i installed the front one first, as advised by the instructions, which were kind of cryptic. the metal wire stays were adjustable but it took me a while to loosen the bolts, even managing to strip one of the cross-head screws, before realizing i could more easily remove them with a socket wrench of the matching size. the instructions don't tell you this but a wrench of some sort is essential.
the rear fender was a little harder to install because the bike frame doesn't have a brake bridge. what it did have was a screw hole near the down tube (i might be getting my terminology mixed up here), but the screw that came with the fenders was too long, so i had to visit a hardware store and find one that's shorter.
with my trek temporarily out of service, it was the perfect opportunity to take out the yellow ross, which had been sitting in my kitchen for a few weeks. i got all dressed up, even putting on a stylish hat for the occasion, and wheeled the bike out of the house, into another cold (around 20°F) pre-winter december day.
there are two things i love about the ross: lady style, so no annoying top tube to threaten my crotchal area; and the swept-back classic north road handlebars. i'm tempted to install similar handlebars on the trek, except i read they don't work for twist shifters, which is what i have.
so i'm riding and i'm beginning to notice that the rear tire seems to be dragging. i figured it's a flat, take a quick peek behind me, and see that the tire is still good, maybe a little squishy, but i'm not riding on the rim. about halfway to the cafe (i was stopping there first to see if my father might have the kind of screw i was looking for) the bike suddenly grounded to a stop. there was something wrong with the bike tire. it wasn't a flat, and the chain was still on, but the tire just wouldn't turn anymore. i was already at the hill of the harvard observatory, and figured i'd just park my bike along with the other student bikes, and then walk the rest of the way.
when i got to the cafe there was an mini-emergency. the main freezer was broken. a repairman just fixed it, but it needed to be defrosted first (which takes at least a day) before starting back up, so everything had to be cleared out. unfortunately one of the two storage freezers in the basement was also broken, and the remaining freezer was already full. the solution my father came up with was load everything into cardboard boxes and put them in the car, since it's below freezing outside. that idea will only work for today, since the temperature will go back up to the 40's again. i managed to take home some frozen steamed buns and some microwave meals.
while i had some wontons for a late lunch, my parents were busy clearing out the freezer. once they were finished, my father drove me to masse hardware to find a suitable screw. afterwards, he drove me back to the harvard observatory so i could pick up my bike and bring it home.
i've always thought that the ross bike was left behind by one of the chinese astrophysicists when they returned home to china. but suddenly today i remembered where the bike was actually from: 7 years ago somebody just dumped it in front of my house. when nobody claimed it, i kept the bike and stored it in my basement. so for all i know, this bike could actually belong to one of my neighbors! although i kind of hope not; i've put so much work into it (polishing the chrome, rust removal, replacing the cables, installing a new rack), i sort of want to keep it for myself.
anyway, 3 years ago i gave the bike away to zhu lei, a chinese astrophysicist who was moving out of my place and into one of my great uncle's spare apartment rooms. i don't think he liked the ross very much, because he ended up buying 2 more bicycles (one for him, one for his girlfriend who later became his wife because of visa reasons). they finally moved out this year. the left behind not only the original ross bike i gave to him, but also their own bikes, including the trek i'm riding now. everything comes full circle!
using the newly purchased shorter screw, i installed the rear fender without any problems. the only good thing i can say about these fenders are they're functional (though that may be premature, i haven't even tested them in the rain yet). i personally think they're kind of ugly. i thought they'd be smooth fenders, but they're actually kind of boxy, with these flat sidewalls. the rear fender is also a little stretched; i attached it to the chain stay bridge at the bottom of the frame but the geometry of the bike doesn't lend itself to doing that. i may try to readjust it with some plastic zip ties that came with the fenders.
i checked out what was wrong with the ross: the rear wheel wasn't tightened and came a little loose while i was riding. the rubber tire ended up grinding against the frame, that's why i couldn't turn the wheel. also the front wheel was a little loose as wheel. did i not tighten any of the bolts? i'll have to do some wheel adjustments within the next few days before i can take out the ross again.
for dinner i microwaved this frozen thai rice meal that i got from the cafe. how long has it been in the freezer? who knows, but i added a generous dollop of hot sauce to mask any weird fridge burn smells. it was actually pretty tasty.
my roommate left for new york city this morning with his german girlfriend, caught the 7:00 lucky star bus leaving south station. he's not coming back until monday night, and even then he'll probably spend the night at his girlfriend's house, so i won't see him until next tuesday. by then he'll been here for another week before he returns to spain and i'll be completely roommate free again!