the nickel alloy stainless steel hose clamps (SAE size #4) i got yesterday from home depot are definitely a lot better than the zinc-plated ones i got from harbor freight tools. and when i attached them to the rear rack of my ross 10-speed and to the folding basket, they were satisfyingly sturdy. the one thing i did was to flip the direction of the adjustment screw so they'd face downwards and not stick out. i'd be seriously surprised if the basket manages to fall this time. i wish i'd known about hose clamps when i first installed these baskets (now just one), they're definitely the way to go.

i bought a box of lipton island mango & peach white tea ($2.50) last night. i was drawn to it because the loose leaves come in those fancy pyramid tea bags and one of the ingredients was modified corn starch, which i confused with corn syrup, so i thought this would be a sweetened tea despite having zero calories (my math and logic skills were a bit off apparently). i tried it this morning, i don't really like it. i didn't realize there was 15mg of caffeine per serving; i try to stay away from caffeine if possible since it makes me jittery and gaves me insomnia. but since it was so early in the day, i figured it'd be okay. it's also the sort of tea that gets bitter with oversteeping, and i have a habit of just leaving the tea bag in my cup. finally, thought it's advertised as island mango and peach, neither mango nor peach are actual ingredients; i guess the flavor comes from (natural) additives. the corn starch is probably the glue that attaches the string to the tea bag.

i stopped off at the cafe to drop off some cash before heading to belmont. close to the intersection of walden and huron avenue i saw a bicycle out on the curb with a piece of paper labeled "free" attached to it. i turned around to check it out. actually, i was determined to have it, even if it didn't work, since i could always strip it for parts. the owner of the free bike was actually outside and i asked him about it just to confirm. he told me he used to ride it with a child hitch attached to the back. the bike works fine, and he even replaced one of the tubes at one point.

i locked up my own bike and wheeled the free bike back to the cafe. it was a 10-speed raleigh urban assault, probably made in the 80's. it has 26" wheels, with a mountain bike tire on the front and a street tire on the back. the wheels were good, both fully inflated (no flats). the bike features responsive cantilever brakes and handlebar shifters (unindexed). i left it with my father so he could bring it back to belmont after work.

after retrieving my bike parked a few blocks away, i continued on my way to belmont. my mother made some xuelihong noodles for lunch. afterwards we watched the last few remaining episodes of the americans on FIOS on-demand when i introduced her to the show yesterday.

my original plan was to continue with the backyard pruning, but i wasn't in the mood, despite the sunny (but a little chilly) weather outside. all those already pruned branches on the lawn, if they don't get picked up tomorrow, they might be buried underneath the snow that's supposed to fall beginning on monday night (2-4" the latest forecast, although that's followed by a period of rain).

after dinner i helped my father clean up the free raleigh which he brought into the kitchen. earlier i showed him how to remove rust using some aluminum foil. we realigned the front brakes which were uneven - pretty easy to do with cantilever pads. i noticed it earlier but now it was pretty obvious that the rear derailleur was bent out of alignment. we figured it'd be a tough fix but the derailleur bracket is soft enough that my father was able to gently bend it into shape by hand.

my father seems to really love this raleigh urban assault, even though it's still not as good as the schwinn 7-speed i got him less than 2 years ago. that one has 28" wheels, so it's a much faster bike, compared to this raleigh, which has a tall frame, but seems mismatched with relatively small 26" wheels.

i thought i had a moratorium on getting anymore bikes until at least i got rid of some of the ones in my basement (i think the current number is 11 not counting my daily bike) but i wasn't expecting to find a free bike on the street. i'm definitely selling the GMC denali, and i have a few other road bikes in various states of disassembly. the money i make from selling some of my old bikes maybe i can put down into a used beater with 27" wheels that i can attach baskets to and turn it into a fast grocery bike.

back in cambridge i took a hot shower and watched new episodes of the walking dead and vikings. in 2 more weeks, sundays will all be about game of thrones and mad men!