Bikes ‘R’ Us

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

I made it through the second week of the train commute. Yes, the second week. It would have been the third week, but I got the flu right after the first week (probably from someone on the train).

Anyway, I’m learning a lot more about Chicago as a result of taking public transit and riding my bike. In fact, I would say I’ve learned more in the last few weeks than I did in the previous year. Sad, but true.

And now that the bicycle is such an important part of my transportation picture, I’m finding that I’m having to re-learn a lot of what I used to know about bikes when I was a kid. Little known fact… when I was living in Miami between 4th and 5th grade, I used to steal bikes with my cousin Bobby and our friend Joey. We would roll up to some other neighborhood and find bikes that had been left in the yard. Then we would take them back to Joey’s house, take the bikes apart and rebuild them. After that we would spray paint them and then sell them at the flea market. It was like a car chop shop, but for bicycles. I’m not proud of what I did.

I mention that only because today I had to change the tire on my bicycle. It brought back a lot of memories.
Yesterday I went over to Bikeworks, a local bike shop. The owner of the shop, Bruce, is a bit like the Soup Nazi. He’s cantankerous and gruff, and he is highly opinionated when it comes to bicycles. Here’s a video of him…

Who better to ask about the gear shifting problem I’ve been having? I spent a couple of hours with Bruce yesterday before he agreed to work on my gear problem. While there, I noticed something odd about my rear tire. The rubber was coming off where the tire met the rim. I bought the bike used… therefore the tires were used. I hadn’t noticed the rear tire issue until I was showing another customer how to fold the bike.

At any rate, Bruce, miraculously found the same exact tires (Kenda Kwest 20×1.50 High Pressure) that were on my bike somewhere inside his store (if you watched the video, you’ll know that would be quite a feat).  This morning I replaced the offending tire.  Got a little dirty in the process.  It felt good.

Next up…  I need to join the Bike Project…


2 responses to “Bikes ‘R’ Us”

  1. Yesterday was bike repair for me as well. I got to talk with our local bike shop owner (has two others one in Hershey, PA the other in Alexandria). He says that lots of people are turning to bikes due to the current gas crisis. My bike shop owner is a retired bike racer. A couple of years ago he crashed into a tree at 65mph, broke 14 bones and had a heart attack. His wife decided he was retiring. They had already started the bike shops and decided to retire here by the coast. He sees that this is going to be a growing community and he wants to be the local bike shop.

    The bike project looks nice. At work, maintenance started repairing old bikes and giving to area kids for christmas. Now the whole site is helping fund it and we give bikes and helmets to needy kids in three surrounding counties.

    • Yikes! A tree at 65mph sounds pretty rough. He’s lucky to be alive.

      I can’t wait to join The Bike Project. I’ll learn a lot and I’ll help people at the same time. That’s a win-win in my book.


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