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This is a story about Saturday in the city

It's a story about transportation. A story about service. A story of the limits of technology and the boundless nature of kindness, and it is the story of the thing that rarely happens happening at just the wrong time. It is a tale of podfic, and a Dutch German woman, and and a boy called Jeremy.

It is the story of my Saturday, and it goes like this:

I rode the rented Dutch bike off into the streets this morning for its return to Clever Cycles by 11:00. The plan was to walk from there to the other repair shop to pick up Clyde, ride home, and be writing by 1:00.

What actually happened was that it started raining. I rode the Dutch bike over a small bump at the corner of Martin Luther King and Multnomah and the chain came off. The chaincase, which prevents grease on clothes, also prevented any obvious quick fix.

"Wow, that--that just almost never happens," said Jeremy, the lucky guy who answered my call. I waited in the rain while he came with a pickup truck to get me and the bike. "Not on this bike."

Once at Clever Cycles, I picked out some bike accessories with the advice of a lovely Dutch German woman who works there. She personally vouched for the weatherproof qualities of the wicker handlebar basket, and showed me how the special bungee cord affixes to the rear axle.

When I went to pay, I discovered that I had left my wallet at home. "No problem," I thought. "You have my credit card on file--just rent me a bike for another couple of hours and I'll go get it."

Alas, it's a spring Saturday in Portland. Clever Cycles had no available bikes to rent. I called my sis. She was in the wilds of East County planting trees and could not offer a ride. I didn't have a penny on me. A camera, a phone, a computer, a snazzy new Bluetooth headset, and a bike lock--but not one red cent of cash or credit. The lovely Dutch German woman offered to rent me a brand-new, for-sale Dutch Workcycle as long as I left the tags on, but I just couldn't. I was, by this time, all wrong in the head.

So I plugged in Fayjay's reading of "Queensguard" and I walked. I walked across the Hawthorne Bridge and through downtown. I walked right past the office where I've got about $20 in change in a jar in a desk drawer, but could not get into the building because why would I bring my security pass with me on a Saturday.

I got on a train and rode as far as the fare-free zone would take me, then I walked some more. I gave serious consideration to panhandling. The batteries on my phone and my headset died. My feet got blistery and my knees started to hurt, and my hip joints were giving me "seizing up now" warnings by the time I got home.

Now it's 1:30. I have my wallet. My devices are charging. I'm getting on a bus in a few minutes and going to get Clyde, who will carry me in a lovely, newly-gear-adjusted, impact-free manner back to Clever Cycles, where I will purchase my accessory items before they close, and then...

Then I think I'm gonna stop at an all-day breakfast place and treat myself to some bacon. Because I totally deserve bacon.

Original post on Dreamwidth | Leave a comment on DW | read comment count unavailable comments on DW


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Wow. You definitely deserve bacon. (I mean, everyone deserves bacon, but you deserve at least an extra piece or two.)
Apr. 3rd, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
I don't have my bacon yet, but I TOTALLY feel a Sunday breakfast coming on.

Damn. Tomorrow's Easter, isn't it? Oh well, I'm buying my own bacon, then. That way, nobody can judge me for how much of it I decide to eat.

I don't have an Easter bunny, so here's a plot bunny.
Apr. 4th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
You deserve bacon and chocolate and a freaking Swedish masseuse, ffs - what a day! I mean, brava with the mad mountains of exercise, but !!!!!!!

I do not have an Easter Bunny icon either. I do, however, have an "All Interspecies Rape MPreg All The Time" plot bunny icon, because I was generously informed that this was interspecies rape mpreg when I made the mistake of posting it to a gen community. (There I was thinking that a short, crackalicious bit of comical fluff in which an uncle reads a bedtime story to his nephew could be counted as gen. My bad.)
Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
holy shit!

i'm glad you made it home ok! i think you may be in a bit better shape than i am because i certainly couldn't have walked all that way! i have already tried to make the habit of carrying at least bus fare (and mostly succeed!) on me at all the time because a couple of times i forgot my farecard at home and there's no other way to pay on a bus except for cash so i've had to walk home (of course, not as far as you had to!!)

wish i lived closer 'cause i would have totally gone to pick you up!

eta: also? you should have a lot of bacon! you deserve it.

i have been listening to fayjay's reading of restriant and fairly swooning from the beauty of it!!!

Edited at 2010-04-03 11:11 pm (UTC)
Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I wish you were closer too, just because it would be fun!

Today was a great thought exercise in anticipation of not owning a car. It's got me thinking about the importance of owning the sturdiest, most reliable bike I can afford (which really, the Dutch one is and this was freakishly bad luck), and keeping a few bus tickets in the saddlebag, and carrying a little cash, and maybe, finally, getting internet on my phone (because hey, I could have Twittered for help! And it's a great excuse to get internet on my phone anyway). Possibly also better walking shoes because ouch.

And now I'm wondering if there's a bike-based device charger because that would be awesome. And a cupholder. Hee!

And isn't the podfic FANTASTIC? I'm motivated anyway to get the rest of part III posted, but I can hardly wait to hear pandarus/Fayjay's reading of it and that's driving me too.
Apr. 4th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
didn't catch this the first time you said it... i'm thinking you don't know that you can text to twitter?

i'm pretty sure the twitter number is the same for everyone: just text to 40404

of course, unless you have all your twitter followerd set to send their twitters to your phone you wouldn't receive the @replies from twitter, so you would probably have had to twittered your phone number or the number to the cycle place you were at...

omg! or you can have twittered your google voice number which you can set to forward text messages to your cell phone...

stuff for next time :D

and it would be fun if we lived near each other!

Edited at 2010-04-04 12:02 am (UTC)
Apr. 4th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
I did know that I can text to Twitter--it's been a sanity saver in several conference and airport situations! It was the reply issue that stymied me.

But I'll admit that my Google Voice number never entered my mind--and I know it by heart! Because I got a really good one! You and I will have to do some experimenting with that when you have some free time. Thanks for the great idea.
Apr. 4th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
ok duh! ha! i was pretty sure you were using txt to twitter but then i wondered! lol!

so yes! we can experiment when you want :) just let me know
Apr. 4th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
You totally deserved bacon for that, all right! It's great that everyone was so nice, though; I love to see the world working like that.
Apr. 4th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
The day has had its stresses, but it was overall a positive experience and gives me an excuse to use the Bath Tub of Resuscitation this evening with loads of Epsom salts.
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
What a day you had! One hell of a lot more exercise than anticipated and wouldn't you know that a bike that is not supposed to break, does. Thank God they were willing to come get you, imagine walking that bike to their shop as well as all the rest! Yickes, bacon doesn't even begin to fill the "derserve" hole!
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
And damned if I ever did get any bacon yesterday! By the time I finally got home for the second time, I was cold and tired and stressed to the max. My sis had made chicken soup, so I had that instead.

Happily, a nice long soak in Epsom salts and a good night's sleep seems to have cured the stress and prevented any serious soreness.
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Mmmmm! Chicken soup is what I was hungry for yesterday but I was busy helping granddaughters color eater eggs instead. BTW- I found a great recipe for pasta that is GF. It uses a mix of bean flours. Described as being slightly nutty flavored. Reminded me of the whole wheat pasta we loved.
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
Never have I missed good bread so much as when I was eating that delicious chicken soup yesterday.

But if I could make noodles or dumplings, it would go a long way to replacing it! Let me know if you try the recipe. Heaven knows I've got bean flours around.
Apr. 4th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Dumplings were in the book too. I'll copy them off for you. The mix is one part Garfava bean flour, one part tapioca clour and one part cornstarch. You combine one cup of the flour mix with 2 teaspoons xanthan gum, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 eggs. Kneading it on cornstarch covered surface. Roll out as thin as you want and then boil it. Add a bit of oil tot he water before adding the pasta.
Apr. 4th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
Oh boy! I'm trying that tonight! I think I'll go buy a chicken and make chicken noodle soup. Yummy!
Apr. 4th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes you do.
...deserve bacon, I hope you got some. Wow, what day.
Apr. 4th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, yes you do.
In the name of not making the post a complete and utter bitchfest, I omitted the ETA that would have said, "And Wrong Bikes, as it turned out, did not actually repair Clyde."

They did replace my handlebars as requested (a fit-and-safety adjustment that I took to them ONLY because the shifters needed replacing under warranty), but I had to actually ASK them to adjust the shifters afterwards so that the number-windows were facing me instead of the front of the bike. My rearview mirror was pointing downward.

As I rode home, I noticed that derailleur was NOT adjusted. The shifters showed no evidence of having been replaced. Nothing, in short, was fixed under warranty. They did only the part they could charge me for.

In their favor I can only say that the really nice young woman who sold me Clyde always recognizes me when I go in, says hi, and asks how I'm liking my bike. Yesterday I told her that I didn't think it was intended for as many miles as I'm putting on it, and she said, "No, it's really just a recreational bike."

So back in August when I said I was planning to start bike commuting, even that very nice and helpful young woman edited me in her own mind to say, "I am another middle-aged wannabe and I'm buying a bike that will wind up in my garage in a week."

Clever Cycles, here I come. And bacon. Still need bacon.
Apr. 4th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, yes you do.

Bacon. Now. Get it! :)
Apr. 5th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
I am glad to hear that you had yet another good experience at Clever. And dismayed at the poor treatment you received yet again at the other place.
You are a trooper!
Apr. 5th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Renting a very different kind of bike from the one I ride every day has been a really eye-opening experience, and I'm so glad Clever Cycles was there to make it possible. Riding to work today, with shifters still not working right, and really inaccurate gearing, I knew: I'm going to buy a Dutch bike at some very near point in the future. I need a steadier, more solid bike, serviceable at a steadier, more reliable bike shop.
May. 27th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
glad to be reading yr J.
I started reading your journal due to Restraint and now I read here and there from time to time and find it all so interesting. :)
May. 27th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: glad to be reading yr J.
Always nice to see a retrocomment. :D
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )



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