(Aside: No, Chris, not your kind of bike.)
A refurbished Fuji Sports 10, ca. 1975.
Second Son has been doing some volunteer work at the Wilmington Urban Bike Project. A week or so ago, he bought himself a nice refurbished bicycle for $30.
I’ve always liked to cycle. Heck, when I was growing up, when I wasn’t on a tractor, I was likely on my trusty Western Auto 24″ one speed with a coaster brake. My Huffy three-speed gave up the ghost several years ago, and, frankly, I’m getting old enough so that I need more than three speeds (you don’t realize how steep that little hill is until you try to bicycle up it).
So, today, we went down the the Urban Bike Project; we donated his old bicycle from when he was a little kid and I bought the Fuji for $75.00.
The Urban Bike Project has an interesting approach. It does not exist to sell bikes to the general public and you could walk by it without knowing it was there; normally, you have to volunteer to get a bike, but I had an in with Second Son. And I would just as soon give my money to them as to Target, let alone some high-priced exclusive bike store for people who wear colors so loud a hippy would never have worn them and pants with funny padding when they cycle (yeah, I know the padding is practical, but it still looks funny).
The Project lets neighborhood kids (they are not located in a great neighborhood, but neither is it the worst neighborhood in town) work on the donated bikes, teaching the kids how to maintain bicycles as they go. After a kid has worked enough hours–five, I think, something the kid can accomplish in a day–he or she can pick out a bike from a selection the Project reserves for that purpose.
Second Son tells me that one of the problems they face is that, often, after a kid earns his “free” bicycle, the kid will turn around a couple three days later and find his bike has been ripped off. Indeed, as I wheeled the bike out, one of the adult leaders suggested that I write my name, address, and phone number on a slip of paper and drop it down the seat tube.
(I don’t expect a bike to disappear in this neighborhood, but I may drop my business card in there–maybe it will lead to a gig.)
Monday, I will hie me down to Dunbar’s about a mile hence and pick up some basic maintenance stuff (patch kit, tire irons, spare tube, spoke wrench–I have vise grips, WD-40, a Swiss Army knife, and duct tape; if it can’t be fixed with vise grips, WD-40, a Swiss Army knife, and duct tape, it can’t be fixed). The surest way to prevent a flat tire is to be ready for one.
Tomorrow, I have to pump up the tires (90 psi) and see if they hold air and go to some parking lot somewhere and learn how to ride this thing. I’ve never shifted gears on a derailleur before . . . .