Practically Perfect

It’s real tough going around here these days, let me tell you.

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Ian and Benji wear hard hats while playing construction site, a game inspired by all our visits to…

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…a real construction site. Benji was oddly thrilled when a bored excavator driver, waiting for dump trucks to come back, pulled out and ate a banana. We immediately had to eat a banana while wearing a hard hat when we got home.

This morning we went for a fairly easy trailer ride, and the conditions were exceptionally nice. Benji tolerated our time on the trail, but perked up when we got back on the road with all the cars and trucks. If we could, he’d probably have me ride on the freeway. In lieu of that, as a compromise, we ride busy roads that have bike lanes.

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My phone does some auto-HDR when it detects the appropriate conditions.

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I have a cold, but honestly, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Life is good.

OH! I meant to add this: We must be a really weird family. This morning Benji asked (through pantomime and sign) about how the washer and dryer worked. So I drew him a picture on the chalk board:

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As I drew I narrated the story (by the way, this is a summary. My story to Benji was way longer and more detailed): First you get your clothes all dirty; then you put them in the washer with soap, turn it on, and water comes in and swirls it around; when it’s clean, you put it in the dryer, where it’s spun with hot air blow drying it.

Fine… But then somehow I ended up explaining how soap works. I had Benji acting as dirt, while I was soap; I grabbed Benji and some water (in a sippy cup) and off we went to have adventures. I drew it in the diagram, too. And included a real water molecule with two hydrogens and one oxygen. Somehow I don’t think normal parents do this with their 2-year-olds.

Pretty In Pink — My Bike, That Is

~~~
Day’s Verse:
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Isaiah 62:3
~~~

Yesterday Ian gave me an unexpected but wonderful Valentine’s Day present: New fenders. I kept seeing and drooling over a pair of fenders in the window at JRA Bike Shop, which occupies part of the space at the BikeStation, where I work. Finally yesterday afternoon I guiltily confessed my obsession to Ian. The guilt came from knowing that my old fenders worked perfectly fine, and I really only wanted the new ones for their looks. Ian immediately told me to buy them for myself and consider it his Valentine’s Day gift to me. He didn’t have to offer twice — I immediately went and purchased the much-coveted fenders. Then I borrowed some tools from the bike shop and spent about an hour putting them on and fine-tuning so they didn’t rub or anything. Very unique. Now all I need is a saddle and bar tape to match…

Pink Fenders

While purchasing the fenders, I talked with the guy who runs the bike shop about pumps. He recommended the Topeak Road Morph bicycle pump, which supposedly can inflate tires to 160 psi — quite a feat for a small on-bike pump. I’d settle for 120 psi, my usual pressure, or even 80 psi, just to limp home. I bought that, too, and put it on at the same time I put the fenders on. I feel much better having replaced the stupid failing CO2 cartridges with something I know will work. Oh, and I picked up another tube, since I used my emergency tube fixing the flat. Now I feel prepared again.

By the way, my tire remained inflated, which made me very happy. After that I only had to struggle with the irritating ongoing problem of my disc brakes. Every time I take one of the wheels off, when I put them back on, I have to totally readjust the disc brakes all over again. I can never seat the wheel exactly right so it works the first time. There are definite down sides to disc brakes, and one of them is their extreme finickiness. However, they paid off last winter in all the snow and ice when my brakes worked no matter what, and I expect them to pay off again when I start towing a trailer.

Yep, a trailer. I’m thinking of trying to ride home from the July AmeriCorps training in Trout Lake, and I will need to be 100% self-supported for that adventure. That means hauling a tent and sleeping bag, plus of course food, water, clothes, and repair kit stuff. I could invest in fenders, but I explored that option and it looks like it could become extremely expensive extremely fast.

Why would it be so expensive? Well, I’m glad you asked. If I wanted to put on a rear rack with any appreciable load, which my bike is already set up to accept, I’d also have to put on a front rack to balance out the weight and handling. But I have a fancy-dancy carbon fork right now that cannot take a rack or any significant weight. That means that in addition to buying a front and rear rack and panniers (for a total cost of at least $700), I would also have to buy a new front fork. Because my bike has custom specs, that means I have to buy a custom front fork. A quick phone call told me that a custom front fork costs about $450, give or take. So to actually set my bike up as a touring bike would cost me almost $1200 just for mods to the bicycle itself.

Compare that to purchasing a bicycle trailer on Craigslist. Those run anywhere between $25 (old and crappy) to $195 (practically new, fancy brand). I wouldn’t have to do anything else special to my bike to tow a trailer because the people at Seven built it with towing abilities.

This is a pretty easy choice, really. I would like to set my bike up for touring some day, but since I’ll need a trailer to tow kids at some point too, the decision really makes itself.

Racks and panniers it is! …Just kidding.

KF quality