They had a heck of a time getting the bottom bracket off of Sue’s old bike.
It was the original bottom bracket from when I bought the bike for her shortly after we got married. That was about 22 years ago. They had to soak it in some stuff to loosen it up. That took two days.
The bike shop at REI finally called me on Friday evening to let me know the bike was ready for pickup. I went first thing Saturday morning to get it. I loaded it onto the bike rack and headed home.
But like those times when a dog sees a squirrel, I saw a bright yellow sign that read “YARD SALE!” I’m like a bug to a bug light when I see those magical words. What treasures await to be discovered, repurposed or brought back to a life where that item is appreciated again! So in the method of a burglar casing out his next target, I drove slowly by peering across the yard for the glint of hidden treasure. Off to the side, away from everything else, I saw it.
Mary, the lady having the yard sale, was probably 20+ years my senior. A friend had given her this bike so she could ride around the neighborhood and around the lake. She discovered that this bike wasn’t what she needed. She wanted to be able to sit up straighter.
Years ago she traveled to Holland, where she took a bicycle/ferry tour across the country. She waxed on about the pleasure she had in that tour. How the organizers led them along on land and on ferries and had stops planned throughout the day where snacks and meals were prepared for them when they arrived. She spoke of a similar tour somewhere in Oklahoma, but minus the ferries, and how much she enjoyed those tours.
“Would you be interested in a trade? That’s my wife’s bike on the rack. I just picked it up from the bike shop where I got it repaired and tuned up. I haven’t even made it home yet.” Somehow I said those words without even being conscious of them.
“Sure!” Her response was a little more enthusiastic than I expected.
“Great! Do you mind if I ride your bike to test it out?”
“How about we ride together?”
So off we went down the street. She got a feel for Sue’s bike. I got a feel for what was to be Sue’s new bike. We chatted along our short ride about her love for biking and about our upcoming trip to Colorado. When we got back, the deal was done. She did offer me an out. If Sue didn’t like the bike she would willingly trade me back. I thought that was awfully generous of her.
“Thank you,” I replied, and I loaded her mountain bike onto my bike rack.
I warned Sue of the transaction before she got home. As I was describing the virtues of this “new” bike, I made certain to point out that the bike matched her new hiking boots.
When she got home, after a brief spin in the driveway, she accepted the bike. I think she was just being polite.