Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Good Idea

Finding myself inexplicably awake at sunrise, vaguely hungover and wondering what to do about it, I reached for my bicycle and rolled it out onto the porch.  I wasn’t going to ride, necessarily, but I thought I would put her out on the porch for old time’s sake, just to watch the golden-red glow wash over her as the sun got up and began to do its thing.  But it was quite overcast this morning and misty and foggy and looking like some kind of Precursor-of-Winter Sunrise, even though it was, after all, still August.

As I pushed her out the door I realized the front tire was flat.  

“What the hell?” I thought.  “That’s odd.”  It WAS odd.  This is the New Bike.  I have had her for a year now (she may be a him) and never came close to a flat.  Then again, I have yet to put any significant miles on the New Bike.  

“Well, there goes my morning ride,”  I thought.  “Dang flat.”  I started to shuffle towards the fridge.

“Yeah, you can’t ride a bike with a flat tire.  Too bad we don’t know what to do about flat bicycle tires.”

I spun around.  Nobody there.  Toby the Trouble Puppy was sitting there, startled by my sudden spinning about, wagging his tail warily.

“Toby?  Did you hear anything?”  He wagged his tail and stuck out his tongue and yawned a cautious  yawn.  I wasn’t cussing, so he started to relax, meanwhile keeping  his eye on me at the same time. But I HAD heard a voice, clear as a bell.  I looked at the bike on the porch.  I turned and looked at my work bench three feet away.  There was my bicycle tool box, stuffed with all manner of esoteric bicycle tools and also not one but TWO inner tube patch kits, both the glueless and the glue type.  

There was, I could see in the morning light, considerable dust on the toolbox.

“Hey!”  I said to Toby.  “I  know how to fix a flat bicycle tire. “  Daisy the Yellow Dog (getting on in years) stuck her head out from under my bunk to see what was going on.  Seeing me standing in my boxer shorts in the middle of the room talking to myself she stretched and crept back into  her personal  spot in front of the dog fan.  She heaved her best “here we go again” sigh and went back to sleep. Daisy sleeps a lot these days.

“We’ll see about this,”  I said, sounding confident.  I strode over to the refrigerator and reached for the handle.

“Wrong box.”  I whipped around again, going into my best imitation Elvis karate stance.

“Who’s there, dammit!?  Show yourself!”  Toby jumped up from his bed, (the backseat pulled from my Chevy van) and ran under the bunk to hide behind Miss Daisy.  I went to the front door and stuck my head out, looking back and forth with what I hoped was a fierce expression on my face.  “I ain’t playin!”  I shouted, stepping out to where I had parked the bike.

Christy, the redheaded widow from  across the way, was doing a little early morning work in her tiny trailer-park garden.  She turned to see what this sunrise hollering was about.  Seeing me standing there in my underwear, she stood up and came over to my gate.

“Going for a bike ride this morning?  I never see you out on your bike anymore.  You used to live on that thing.  What happened?”

“I have a flat tire.”  She looked down at the big trash can sitting next to the gate. The birds were starting up with their morning racket.  There are a lot of birds around the Park.

“Well, if you recycle all those cans, you should be able to afford a new tire.  Maybe even a whole new bike.”  

“I gotta go inside and put my pants on,” I said.

“Good idea,”  She said.

“Good idea,”  the Voice said.  This time I didn’t even flinch.  I went inside the trailer.  I looked at the pile of empty bottles in a box behind the trailer door.  

“No wonder I’m hearing voices,”  I said to no one in particular.  I reached up into the cupboard over the refrigerator and grabbed a dust rag and a can of WD-40.

I headed over to the work bench.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Halfway House
August 14, 2016


  1. Get that rubber inflated, my velo brother, and get out on that lovely young lady for a ride! And then write about it for us, TJ. Write about it.

    I miss these missives.

  2. I'm working on it, Brian, I'm working on it.

  3. It is the baby step start of an epic comeback

  4. Replies
    1. The Journey of a thousand pedal strokes begins with ...a patch kit.

  5. I turn my back for one minute, ok I was on Vacation for 5 days, and I come back to BOOM a TPC Post! Cool. I sense a post script coming on....or maybe a Facebook meme...Tim Joe is between Jobs, Tim Joe rides his bike and has fun with his spare time, be like Tim Joe..

  6. Old Tim Joe was a merry old soul, a merry old soul was he...

    1. and he liked to ride upon his bike and it was a single spee(d)..

  7. I've missed hearing about "the voice"...maybe cuz we've all heard it's snide comments, especially after we've screwed something up (I HATE that voice). I heard mine just the other day when I cross-threaded a glow plug in the ol' Diesel Jetta. And just TRY to find a 10mm 1.0 thread tap...I DARE you! (I have one on order from Amazon, should be here next week to chase the threads and get the new plug in there all the way). I'd say its HIGH TIME for you to get back out there and enjoy the feel of the wind on your face and some SPEED on skinny tires!

    1. well little miss is entering her third year of not being finished. I have the parts but not the gumption. Pirsig had some good things to say about gumption. maybe i need to review zaamm.

      right now I'm bossing an Outback remodel in Sarasota, working twelve hour nights and dreaming of babylon.

      it takes a lot out of ya, it does.

      But soon, matt, soon.

    2. I know exactly what you mean about the lack of gumption, my buddy Joe's Super course sat around for a year with my doing nothing BUT I find if you can start, with something small, it snowballs and pretty soon you have a finished bike. Says the guy with about 6 project bikes sitting in his apartment. Hang in there Velo Brother

  8. TJ,

    Amazing how the changes you don't want just slowly steamroller their way over you, while the changes that you WANT are all at the top of a tall mountain - with no trails - and poison ivy all the way.

    But still, each step does get you closer.

    Time to start looking out for #1, brother. It ain't an endless summer, even in Florida.


    Steve Z

  9. Yeah...actually, the #1 I can deal with. It's when I step in the #2 that the trouble starts.

  10. Speak to me TJ! I'm at it again...

  11. My partner gave me side-eye Friday night when I refused to help him with an important project, in favor of spending two hours searching for tools, swapping out pedals, cleaning the saddle, lubing the chain, adjusting the brakes, checking the tubes, getting my road bike (ridden twice all summer) ready to loan to a friend.

    I realized, then patiently explained to him, this wasn't a favor for my friend, it was for me. When I had volunteered to loan my bike, I had instinctively known, quality time with the bike, alone in the garage, would make me fall in love all over again.

    I almost couldn't let it go Saturday morning.

  12. Jenni, I just revisited the comments for the first time in months and saw your comment. Contrary to what Lance had to say, for me it IS about the bike. I realize that I am taking his book title out of context but what I am trying to say is that long dreamy rides are absolutely good for the soul, there is something absolutely magic about riding a bicycle that you maintain yourself.

    The same thing is true, I think, as pertains to sailors and equestrians. There is a certain mysticism inherent in these highly charged relationships.

    I hope your bicycle came back in as good a shape as she left.