Monday, June 20, 2011

Just a Home Depot Run.

First, I want to apologize for my long absence from the blog. I'm sure some of you are aware that I have taken a "pro" blogging gig, and my time is consumed with finely honing my posts over there. Sorry, but that's the way of the world sometimes. Do you think that Lance rides his bicycle to work? No, he saves the riding for "the show".

Now that we are past that, I do have a story I'd like to tell you about my newest bike. My wife and I have been rennovating our laundry room, and as such, that has nesscesitated plenty of trips to Home Depot for me.  On one of the trips I spotted a garage sale, just down the street from my house. As always, I slowed and gave the sale a quick scan for bikes. Generally the bicycles at sales in my neighborhood are Huffys or Pacifics, etc - their owner has moved on to a car or a different state, and they are quickly replaced in the saddle by other day laborer types. As I scanned the sale I spotted an old ten speed lying next to the driveway, and that made me immediately pull over. I never see old road bikes around here, generally it's mountain bikes. I walked to the bike and glanced at the downtube first, taking note of the chrome lugs on the headtube. The chrome lugs made my eyes open a little wider, but the Campagnolo derailluers that I spotted next told me just about everything I needed to know. Despite the fine details and running gear, the bicycle had seen better days; there was a bare chain with a large padlock wrapped around the top tube, a modern rack was screwed into the fender eyelets and connected by wire to the rear stays,and 20 years ago someone had put yellow reflective tape on both the handlebars and stays.

                                          Ancient reflective tape on the handlebars

I asked the person in charge of the sale "how much", pointing at the bike. She shook her head and pointed to a fat guy in his late forties who was listlessly poking through some stuff on a table. Walking over to him, I said hello and asked if the bike as his, and if he would sell it. He smiled at me, shook his head, and with a little wave went back to stirring around the secondhand treasures on the table in front of him. I got his attention again and asked if I could at least ride it, and with the woman running the sale translating, I got my chance. I hopped on, noting the leather saddle peeking out from under the crappy rubber cover, and took the bike down the street. The tires were nearly flat, the chain wouldn't stay on one cog in back, and the ancient dried out brake pads slowed the bike, at best. I rode back to the owner and saw that he had acquired a friend roughly the same age, but a little shorter. He and the friend were engaged in a serious conversation, so I waited. When they were done, the friend turned to me and introudecex himself as "Sergio", and explained that he was going to interpret for his friend. I immediately offered $100 for the bike. Sergio relayed my offer, and the owner, now identified as Porfido, shrugged and gave a long reply. "He needs a bike to get around", Sergio translated.
"I'll take him to WalMart right now and buy him a bike."
The message was relayed to Porfido, he nodded, and I followed them to their apartment complex, where I winced as he locked the bike up by carelessly leaning against a metal railing, throwing the naked chain over the tube to secure the bike.

                                           Beat up top tube
Porfido and Sergio hopped in my car and we headed to the store. It was a fairly quiet ride,but I did ask Porfido where he got the bike. He told me he was taking a shed down for an old man, and the bike had been stored in the shed. Part of the job had been relocating the stuff from the shed into the garage, and as he wheeled the bike across the yard, the old man had offered to sell it to him, and he had paid $50.

When we got to the store, I tried to talk Porfido into a hard tail hybrid, but he insisted on a double "suspended" Next Powerclimber mountain bike. I shrugged, and we wheeled the bike to the counter, paid, and loaded it up in my truck. When we got back to the apartments, we unloaded his shiny new bike and loaded up my new crappy old bike. Porfido shook my hand a couple of times, and admired his new bike like a kid on Christmas morning. I thanked Sergio for his help, then left to finish my Home Depot run. I didn't really get a chance to take a closer look until later that night, after I had finished the day's projects. In that spirit, I will tell you more about exactly what I traded for in my next post - which will come fairly soon, I assure you.

As found, rack, rope, and all. 

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