Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the earliest day of the week [update three]

Stopped by the 'ol UO Bookstore on the way to CAT to pick up a digital camera. Here's its maiden shot:
My commuter, "The Silver Bullett."

With Thanksgiving falling on Thursday, the Weekly came out today. This tied up the Tri-Hauler and both of the new Long-Hauls (known as "number one" and "number two"). This left me with "Black Beauty."

It's an older bike. The aluminum rack is lighter than the fiberglass container — until you put a big plastic tub in it. Also, there's no "dualdrive" system, meaning it employs a front derailer instead of an internal 3-speed to multiply the ratios the rear derailer offers.

But it's charming, in a low-tech way. At least I got to use a trailer:

It's the Skinner City Farm Hauler. Normally, it's only used to collect compost from Morning Glory, Sweet Life and Laughing Planet on Tuesday mornings. But today, equipment is spread thin, and I need to carry more than that little aluminum rack allows.

Proof of compost:

Alas, when I arrived at Hummingbird, no orders were ready to go out. So I went off the clock for breakfast at Keystone:

I had the Vegan Power Breakfast, with tempeh, mushrooms, spinach and peanut sauce. And two coffees. It's hard to think of a better way to spend thirty minutes.

As a bonus, Mikey Mike rolled in just as I was sitting down:

Or should I say Sprocketman? Former racing-cyclist, inner-city-youth-employing-lawnmower-shop-owner, PedEx manager/driver, Mikey is a self-named superhero and champion bullshitter.

Like a hurricane, a conversation with Mikey is difficult to describe after the fact. I'll mostly rely on photos here:

He put on my helmet and wrapped his arm around an unaquainted woman wearing only red and white.

She didn't mind.

I finished eating, and left him to shine on, gloriously.

I returned to Hummingbird at 9:30 a.m. to find four orders ready to go.

Here are the first two, in-trailer, representing about 300 pounds — a modest load, appropriate for my weakened state. I set out for the south end of town around 9:45 — about three hours and twenty dollars of potential pay later than the day was supposed to begin. But — extra time to wake up, a shave, riding to work after sunrise, and a hearty breakfast with two coffees and some lively conversation — all that was probably worth about twenty bucks.

About a block from the first order's destination, I came across this sad sight:

Some poor soul has been using their old, probably non-functional SUV to store an overage of material possessions. You may not be able to tell from the photo, but the floor, seats, dashboard are piled high with random boxes, envelopes and assorted junk.

Then somebody else decided they needed some of this stuff and broke the window, sprinkling glass across the street.

As you can see, the "wheels of change" are turning, as there is a chalk mark on the tire and a yellow piece of paper under the wiper. The paper is probably a warning, written in stern language, informing the owner of the vehicle that, if they don't move it more than a block within the next 30 days, the city will clean up the mess for them.

But I'm not bitter.

My spirits picked up when I saw this splash of blue:

Love the basket and the matching white accents.

En route to my third delivery, a bungee cord popped off the trailer and wound itself around the non-drive side of my rear wheel.

I managed to stop the bike before it was seriously damaged. As you can see, there was enough force to snap the bungee.

Back at base for lunch, to find Andrew had made a new bike:

Apparently, he had traded Jeremiah his shotgun for this 60cm Trek frame and came to CAT to throw on the components. It's built in classic Hillbilly-Andrew form: knobby tires, camo bartape.

It's pretty sweet, but hard to appreciate the lack of clips. Supposedly, Andrew has shoes to go with those SPDs mounted on the underside of those platforms, but I've never seen them on his feet.

Garrett rode it, too:

Garrett rides Andrew's new (old) Trek from alexander hongo on Vimeo.

OK, fun lunch over. On to my afternoon mail route. Because the Weekly was delivered from the press late, Dana didn't have time to stop by Clothing4All downtown. We run stuff back and forth between them and LovEmbroidery out Highway 99. So I had to make one extra stop to pick up a package from C4A instead of grabbing it from the transfer shelf in the PedEx room at CAT.

Ususally, it's just a couple of shirts. Not today:

It was a long, un-aerodynamic ride out to LovE. But when I arrived, I was treated to the amusing vision of a Mountain Dew biplane:


On my way to Green Gear, I became frustrated with the uprightness of Black Beauty. I felt too upright, too compressed between the handlebars and saddle. I stopped at a park and made a quick adjustment:

Flipped the upright bar ends down to make crappy drops. Less weight on my rear, my back gets to stretch out, and I'm more aero! BTW, those kids in the background are always playing football when I pass through there. Overhear the best smack-talk.

The old Green Gear sign at Bike Friday. After dropping the mail at USPS on Tyinn, I stopped at Eugene Fastener to pick up some bolts for on will call for HPM.

Again, I made it back to CAT with time to take out the recycling and snap an emo-myspace self-portrait in the bathroom:

Here you also see my new toy, a Canon A1000is. She's a real beaut, aint she? After I clocked out, I still had to energy to true up my rear wheel a bit:

Sean had finished the Weekly's downtown route, and was installing some bar-end shifters on the mean Surly he'd just bought from John.
Our helmets are the same but different:

On my way out the door, I spied CAT's director/fearless leader, Jan VanderTuin, acting as the shop's IT director:

That's the computer the staff uses to log its hours. I had noticed it wasn't turning on this morning, but failed to do anything about it. As you can see, he's using a hose connected to our shops compressor to blast its guts free of dust. What a guy; I'm on my way home and the boss is dusting.

Tonight, I'll just write my hours on a scrap of paper.

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