PANDEMIC! episode 11

So usually a pandemic day is like, How was your day? “Well, I went to the grocery store and the post office and then I looked at the chickens.” Exciting stuff! But today was different.

New thing!

Before I even got out of bed I looked at the FB and Slava had tagged me in a post – a tandem bicycle for sale! I’m a longtime bicycle person – I used to be a bike mechanic, in fact – and our friend Adam took me on a tandem tour of NYC one year. I loved it! Ten or so years back, during my annual bike journey down to Provincetown (usually from Plymouth), I met a couple who where on a folding touring tandem. They’d traveled the world on it, and I was quite impressed.

Slava & I live in a small town, and the bike was only just down the road. As soon as I saw it, I loved it – a hand built touring tandem! so we went to take a look right away. The bike was perfect. Slava and I are not tall, and the bike had been custom made for a couple almost exactly our sizes! Very unusual.

The seller was an interesting guy my parents’ age (a very spritely 81). He let me wander around the garage, where he had some unusual British bikes, the marque of which I didn’t recognize, so of course I inquired. He had three Ephgrave bikes which were built for him for the 1964 Olympic trials held in Central Park in NYC. He didn’t make the team, but he did pretty well. The bicycles are cool – not lugged, which is unusual for those times, and lightweight (as far as steel goes). He’d been a racer back in the day, and also had an interesting track bike with a high bottom bracket, as one needs on a raked track.

ANYWAY, Slava and I agreed we loved the bike. The only thing wrong was that it was built for Slava to be in front. In real life, it should be me since I prefer to be in charge. Oh well! We bought it. Slava drove our MGB back home, and I drove the tandem, which was weird with only one rider. Also, the front seat is a little too high for me. Still, it was an incredibly smooth ride. Phil Woods bb and hubs – so much nicer than any of my other bikes.

Slava & I met up at our bike pal’s house on our way, to show off. Next, I drove home and passed by a house with some interesting items for free by the side of the road.

Second exciting thing of the day.

I have a long history with bicycles, but an even longer one with trash / things by the side of the road. So when I see a pile of stuff, I have to investigate. One of our neighbors has been cleaning out a house and putting out a “free pile.” I got a few minor things recently, most notably a wooden rake (this is the third or fourth wooden rake I’ve scored from the trash), right on time since one of ours just gave up the ghost.

Anyway, this time there was something I really needed – a glass display case! So after I delivered the bike to the house, I drove back and picked it up.

I cleaned it up and Slava came home and was very envious. “That’s my new jewelry display case! Don’t break it,” he said.

But wait that’s not all

Although in usual pandemic life it would be more than enough.

Next thing you know, my store opened! we’d been closed for months and months. I dropped in to see how it was going, and was just so excited to see the open flag!

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