close to 11:00 i saw a posting on craig's list for a free GMC denali road bike 57cm/22.5" frame in davis square. it's just gone up a little over 10 minutes ago and davis square was within walking distance. i debated whether i should even bother trying to score this bike but finally decided to give it a try at least and wrote the seller a quick e-mail.
after about half an hour and still no word from the seller, i figured the bike was already gone so i got ready to head into belmont, where my mother was about to make some rice noodles for lunch. just when i was about to go out the door, my cell phone rang. it was the seller letting me know the bike was available. i told him i'd come right away, but i'd be walking so probably in 20 minutes or so. i called my mother to let her know i was going to be late.
the address was on clifton street in somerville, a distance of 1.2 miles, a walk of approximately 25 minutes. it was also still drizzling slightly, and in my haste to leave i didn't bring an umbrella, not that it'd be of any use later because i'd need both hands to bring back the bike.
i'd never been to clifton street before but it must be one of the nicer neighborhoods in somerville, with immaculately well-maintained houses right behind the bike bath, a short walk to davis square. the seller was an indian man. the bike was on his porch, with the wheels taken off because of bad inner tubes. in the posting he said it was 4 years old but it looked to be in pristine shape. he was getting rid of this bike because he wanted to get a lighter one for long distance commuting since he and his wife and their new baby will be moving to winchester.
after thanking him and wishing him good luck on his move, i walked home with the bike. despite being made of aluminum, the frame was awfully heavy. i would walk about a block, rest, then switch hands. it was quite a workout as i began to sweat profusely, my glasses slipping to the tip of my nose. occasionally i'd get curious looks from passerbys, wondering what i was doing carrying a bike - instead of wheeling or riding it. i realized immediately that the smarter thing to do was to arrive with a bike lock and then secure the frame and wheels to a signpost for pickup at a later date instead of lugging it all the way back home.
at one point during a brief rest, i looked back and noticed a man sticking his head out of his car window looking at my with an amused smile. "what happened?" he asked. i told him i picked up this broken bike from craig's list. "that's a great looking bike, how much did you pay?" he said. "free!" i yelled back, holding up the frame and tires in a victory stance. "free?! does he have anymore?" he also muttered something about trading his car for my bike but i waved him off.
i was so relieved to finally get back home. after locking the bike in my backyard porch, i came inside the house to wash the grease off my hands. i didn't have time to examine the bike; i changed out of my sweat-soaked clothes and biked to belmont. my arms were dead tired but fortunately my legs were still fine.
i looked up some more info on the GMC denali road bike. it's one of the cheapest road bikes you can buy, with a MSRP of $200 and found exclusively in department stores. it's heavy, the gripshifters are weird, but it looks more expensive than it actually is. sold also through amazon.com, it has a surprising 4-star rating out of nearly 300 reviews. 22.5" is too tall for me, but i may just save it for prospective tall roommates who might want a ride.
in the afternoon my father and i went to home depot to gather some materials for making a plastic tunnel cold frame/row cover for my great uncle: 5 1/2"x10ft pvc pipes and 10 1/2'x1ft steel rebars. we also got 12 bags of humus/manure (for my great uncle's 6 new raised beds) and i got a small bag of potting soil for myself.
back at the house, i did some research on growing fava beans (they needed to be started early, maybe even grown indoors during late winter since they require 80-100 cold days to mature) and helped my father do a clean install of windows 7 on his spamware-infected laptop.
i was only joking with my sister when i asked her if she was going to stay home and keep the dog company instead of going to dinner. turns out that was actually her plan! i asked her a few times why she wasn't going; her reason was if her dog couldn't go, she wouldn't go either. my parents didn't even bother fighting her on it. at 6:00 we left for arlington, minus my sister.
i don't remember the last time i was at my aunt and uncle's place. i hadn't seen their new stainless steel refrigerator before, a behemoth of modern refrigeration threatening to eclipse one of the doors leading into the kitchen. without my sister my aunt was able to make the dishes even spicier. also on the menu were some broken rice and slippery spinach. afterwards we went to the basement to check out matthew's german sauerkraut pot and his bike collection. we stayed until almost 9:00 before leaving.
almost back at home, i looked down livermore street and saw a wolf-like dog walking in the middle of the road. it took my brain a split second to realize what i was seeing: a coyote! this is only my 3rd coyote sighting in my life (once in rhode island, once in california). i told me father to circle the block, but when we got to where i saw the animal, naturally it was already gone, perhaps crossing the street into fresh pond. later i posted my sighting to the belmont coyote tracking report. coyotes seem to be the least of the problems for cat owners: apparently fishers have also been slowly making their home in belmont.
i finally rode the bike back to cambridge. this was my first night time ride on the newly modified "north road" trek. the new handlebar definitely offers a more relaxed riding position. i like not having to my hands at all, just using my fingers for braking and shifting.
my roommate finally cooked his chicken thighs that'd been in the refrigerator for more than 3 weeks. he told me it tasted weird (not to mention the smell) and decided not to eat the rest of it.