Day 25. 30 Days of Biking

The past is the hitchhiker we have no choice but to carry with us. Take yesterday’s ride: my Trek 2300.

Most of the air in the tires was compressed last week.

The rear hub is 21st century but in service to an idea from the 19th: the single-speed drivetrain. Remove the rear wheel, flip it over to use the cog on the other side of the hub, and it’s yet another 19th-century drivetrain: the fixed gear (no coasting, no way, no how).

The seat post is from the 70s. The headset, crank arms and frame are from the 90s. And the engine has been in continuous use since 1960.

The future is unrepresented here, but shows up on every ride as that day’s destination.

Of course every time you reach a destination, you’ll notice it has its thumb out. Seems unnecessary.

Every place, everyone, everything ultimately rides for free.

Until you forget.

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Day 24. 30 Days of Biking

Bushwhacker to Leaves ‘n Beans–the cafe, not the bean repository down the street at Trefzeger’s Baker–in Peoria Heights.

Single-speeding it. No-handsing it. Witnessing the world’s many marvels, including the sheer number of business cards on display at LNB.

Including a familiar card hawking a friend’s vocation/avocation.

Monsters everywhere. Even now, in sunlight.

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Day 23. 30 Days of Biking

Fifteen years ago, there was a two-story house across the road from these flowers. An American Foursquare. Probably 80, 90 years old at the time.

A woman stood on the top step of the house shaking rugs. (I think she did that; maybe I’m remembering I need to shake my own rugs.)

I waved to her more than once as I went by. We never talked.

I think the mailbox was on this side. Everyone else’s is.

You can imagine people–friends, maybe relatives, maybe the insurance agent–had 2209 East Santa Fe Road written down somewhere so they could send her birthday cards.

(My mother kept a list of names, addresses and phone numbers inside a plastic three-ring binder sleeve on the south wall next to a construction-equipment calendar and a rotary phone between the kitchen counter and the picture window. That was a few decades before the Washington tornado.)

I imagine she planted these flowers, and she must have gathered at least a handful in a vase each spring.

Wouldn’t you think? Anyway.

The house sat empty a long time. What paint there’d been disappeared. The steps dropped to one side. Brush grew up all around.

One day there was a machine next to the house, and a few days later there was no house next to the machine–just bricks from the foundation.

The bricks are still there.

Whoever operated the machine–an excavator? Tracks? Upside-down bucket on a long articulated arm? Must have been an excavator, and maybe a bulldozer–also cut up several trees.

The trunks still line the back of the property.

Only the garage remains. A wooden martin house seems ready to drop onto the roof with the next high wind.

There’s a rectangular hole the size of an Eames lounge chair and ottoman in the garage door and above the hole, the letters WWJD.

(BTW, I like to think he would finish the job, maybe make a village’s worth of dining tables out of the trunks. I’m told he was a decent carpenter.)

Forsythia and lilac bushes run along the road across the way, from the driveway to the west end of the lot behind me. Must be, what, four hundred feet?

They’re about to bloom, too.

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Day 22. 30 Days of Biking

Pretty obvious the railroad detectives were on the case today, sending not one, but two trains to keep me from reaching a blistering 13-mph pace.

Or it could have been a coincidence, I suppose.

Anyway, nice day today. Sixty-eight degrees, humidity in the 20s, which is the same as saying humidity was not a factor, overcast, and winds east at 13 mph. With one exception, the tractors were plowing to the west of me.

You’re welcome to the topsoil, Galesburg.

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Day 21. 30 Days of Biking

The work week used to end on Friday. Consistently. This week, for me, it ended on Wednesday and again on Saturday.

You know what that means: two half-length weekends.

It can get confusing, this business of split weekends. But only because we’ve all agreed that there’s such a thing as a seven-day week.

There isn’t, of course. There’s a unit of time called a day, involving sunrise and sunset, and another called a month that roughly matches the moon’s lap time, but a week?

Completely arbitrary.

Next week is four days. Seven of them is pretty close to a month.

Or three days. 10 sets to a month.

Or five days. Six of those gets the man in the moon back to where he started.

There’s only one reason we all agree on a seven-day week: because we all agree on a seven-day week.

It’s the same reason we agree that certain pieces of paper have special value: because they have the word dollar on them. (And because the people across the street value the same pieces of paper as we do.)

That’s not science. That’s faith.

That’s why there’s a restaurant called TGI Friday’s that’s 1) open every day of the week and 2) would be whether the week was two days long or nine.

We all agree it’s a restaurant. Well, most of us.

If you remain captive to the seven-day week, thank your fellow inmates. Great minds think, and don’t think, alike.

This is a country, after all, in which Congress believes it can change time twice a year. It can do this because it can. It can, because the rest of us allow it to do so.

So I won’t try to change your mind about the seven-day week. That would be exhausting.

I will note, however, that tomorrow I rest.

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Day 20. 30 Days of Biking

Standard disclaimer: I sell bicycles and accessories, including the water bottle cage mentioned in today’s note. I also drink coffee and beer, though rarely at the same time, and change flat tires as quickly as possible so customers can return to their rides.

Swung by the old Donovan Park clubhouse, which is in the process of becoming the new Cyd’s Gourmet Kitchen.

While work continued, I sat at a picnic table and drank coffee with my lunch.

But how did I transport an OXO Good Grips Double Wall Travel Mug by bicycle?

With one of my favorite bicycle accessories: the Arundel Looney Bin water bottle cage, which can securely hold containers smaller and larger than standard bicycle bottles.

A former co-worker used one to cart around draft beer in a 32-ounce Klean Kanteen growler. I fitted the same model growler to my Bike Friday tikit, and I’m happy to report zero foot clearance problems.

Meanwhile, across Knoxville at Bushwhacker, spring is officially here as evidenced by a steep increase in flat-tire repairs.

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Day 19.2. 30 Days of Biking

The gentleman on the right is Rusty Dunn, former mayor of Pekin, Illinois.

Lincoln and the guy holding either the Gettysburg Address or the lunch specials from Chili’s are traveling statues currently installed behind Peoria’s Riverfront Museum.

Many thanks to Carolyn Tobin, the only person to ever hire me twice, for the staging and photo. (And for lunch at Kelleher’s. Score!)

Thanks also to former cubicle mate Edgar Sandoval, of course, for not laughing too hard.

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