Monday, October 24, 2011


 Yeah, It's spelled right. It's the name of an excellent company that manufactures bicycle trailers among other things.

When our kids were young we used to have one. It was expensive, but it was well worth it. Put a helmet on the kid, slap them into the trailer, fasten the seat belts (yes, it has seat belts) and go for a ride.

We got a few years of use with our Burley and when our kids got too big, we gave it to a relative that had younger kids than we did and it got even more years of service. We occasionally used to take it to the grocery store as well because you could fit a lot of groceries into it.

On a recent Friday morning, I had a couple of errands to perform. We had closed the office that day and I decided to take the bicycle out to do the errands. The first stop was to a local hardware store to return a little plumbing part that didn't work out. That done I headed north with a particular destination in mind. On the way though I noticed a sign for a rummage sale and bake sale at a nearby Episcopal church. (Didn't Robin Williams once refer to that as 'Catholic Light'?)

Now, in past years, I have been known to visit garage sales in our neighborhood. I rarely bought "stuff", but sometimes did and was always fascinated with other people's "stuff" and what they might want to discard from their lives. After seeing the sign for the rummage sale, and having plenty of time, and not a particular need to really have to go to my original destination, I decided to head towards the church.

Sometimes a large sale like this can be more interesting because of better selection. So many garage sales have just things like the dreaded piles of baby clothing that I just frankly don't have much interest in anymore. At one garage sale, however, I came across a complete set of Playboy magazines from 1962 to 1973, but the owner wanted too much and would only sell it as a complete set. Alas, not for me that day. But this sale looked sort of promising even if there would probably not be any Playboy magazines there.

Then I saw it! Right there by the front door. A piece of masking tape identified the price at $20. (Don't they know these things are like $250 new?) Upon closer inspection, it was a little dirty, the tires were flat, but it appeared to be nearly identical to the one we owned very many years ago. Should I get it? Do I really need it? Probably not. But it looked to be in good shape even if it needed a couple of new tire tubes and a lot of cleaning.

I was a bit excited and asked one of the 'church ladies' if there had been any interest yet in the bicycle trailer. (Now don't get me wrong! I don't use the term 'church ladies' in a demeaning way. I just have very fond memories of the old SNL routines (wasn't it Dana Carvey?) about the 'church lady', and the ladies running the sale were definitely from that mold.) She said she would make me a helluva deal on that trailer (though she might not have used the word hell). I said I might be back. (You know, make 'em sweat a bit)

Home was only half a mile away, and I only had $13 on me, so I rode home to tell Jayna about it and see if she was even a bit interested. She immediately asked why I hadn't purchased it on the spot and brought it home. So we raided her purse (she almost always has little hidden stores of cash), and I hopped back on the bike to make the purchase.

I walked right in and promptly and proudly laid my $20 bill down on the table to the same 'church lady' I had spoken to just a little while earlier. She was ecstatic to have made the sale. Well maybe just sort of pleased. Another $20 going to a good cause, don't you know. And I was sincerely proud to help out in my own little way.

Of course the task then turned out to be "How to get it home". But I had faith! I had faith that my new hand held frame pump attached to "Bruiser" (that I had never used) would work. I had faith that the tubes in the tires would take and hold at least a little air, long enough to get me home.

The senior pastor (priest?) was there to watch me attempt to pump up the tires. We struck up a brief conversation. The pump worked and the tires seemed to hold the air! The trailer attaches to the bicycle by way of a rather interesting mechanism that attaches to the bicycle frame just ahead of the rear axle. It works amazingly well in that it is secure and works on just about any bicycle. It attached to "Bruiser" flawlessly.

I put my helmet back on (ATGATT for the head, don'tcha know) and rode off. I was delighted to see that the trailer rolled smoothly, the wheels seemed to be true and was just as light and fun as I remember our old trailer to be.

I actually stopped by a store on the way home and made a small purchase and put my sack in the trailer for the ride home. Worked great! I rode home and Jayna and I spent numerous minutes looking it over and recalling all the good times we had with our first trailer. And there are many very good memories.

The next task was figuring out a place to store the trailer. Mind you, our garage is fairly full, two cars, a scooter, a table saw and woodworking tools. I actually hang up "Bruiser" on a hook in what we call the shed so he doesn't take up a lot of space. But I did find a way to hang the Burley right next to "Bruiser" and I think it will work very well.

What a find! What a lot of great memories! Perhaps a future grandchild will ride in this trailer. Certainly groceries are an occasional possibility. Perhaps I will revive my interest in garage sale-ing and take the trailer to hold my new "stuff".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Every Couple of Weeks

It is amazing how much brighter your lights can be if only you would clean off the bugs from your headlight lens. I stood back to admire my work after applying a little glass cleaner (even though the lens was plastic). A few of those bugs had been on there for a long time.

I was thinking that I sure have missed out on a lot of riding this year and this is my favorite time of year to ride. Temperatures ranging from the 50's to the 70's are what I like. A ride to work when the temperature is about 50 degrees is a good way to wake up and feel alive for the day ahead. Just cool enough to be a bit chilly. Not too cold on the fingers.


I miss it!

Max stood in the driveway gently idling away as I cleaned up the light. We had just ridden around the neighborhood to get his battery charged up a bit (mine too) and to make sure he was operating okay. He started right up, like he usually does. The idle sounded good, steady and even. A touch to the throttle and he responded instantly.

Two weeks ago on a Saturday, I had the same plan. Get Max started and ride around the neighborhood a bit. But it had been about 4 months since I had even tried to start Max. I know, bad idea to wait that long, and as could be expected, the battery was pretty dead. I pulled the battery, attached it to the trickle charger and let it go overnight. Started up fine the next morning. From then on I vowed to start Max at least every other weekend and this past weekend was one of those.

I added a little air to the tires and did some thinking about upcoming maintenance needs. Max has 8,111 miles and will be due for a valve adjustment, new spark plug, cooling system flush and new air filter at 9,000 miles. I am thinking springtime will be perfect for that. With a little help, I have performed those tasks before and am pretty confident I can tackle them by myself next time. I will probably do an oil change before I start riding again, hopefully in February.

Cleaning off the headlight lens reminded me that my helmet visor is pretty dirty as well. I would have cleaned it up as well, but the helmet was locked up in my top case while Max was idling and the key to the top case was on the key ring in the ignition switch. Oh well, that will give me something extra to do two weeks from now.

Take care all! Go out and have some great fall rides for me!