Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Third Street

In an attempt to acclimate myself to the harsher side of "recreational homelessness", I have been field testing some of my gear by sleeping out on the deck. As the weather began to cool this Fall, I started with a fleece blanket and overnight lows of mid 50s F. Over the weeks the temps dropped and I broke out my zero rated bag. Mid 30s were no problem. I think I actually slept better, and felt better all day, from the mid 30s nights. So naturally, once I had set a new low temp. mark, I wanted to go lower. My current low is 15 degrees F, and it was actually pretty comfy too. I used a double bag system (one inside the other) and the only thing that was cold was my nose. I had a scare in the night though. I put the bag up over my head to warm up the inside, fell asleep that way, and woke with a gasp! I think I had depleted all of the oxygen in the bag and nearly choked myself out.
Temps will continue to drop as Winter comes, so the records will keep falling too, until there is nothing to prove. But not until then. I see a drift-based snow cave in the not too distant future! Here's a picture of my last Hooverville. Later!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All In A Day's Work For...

Bicycle Repair Man! Did your neighborhood have a guy who could always fix your bikes? You and the guys would do something stupid on a bike, and after picking up the pieces, bee line right for the guys garage? We had one such guy. Jerry Grady. He had tons of old Schwinn parts (old by today's perspective) and would just knowingly set about repairing or replacing anything we had destroyed. Not big on lectures or demanding to know what we had been doing, just a great guy who would fix your stuff. He even helped us jam one set of forks into the top of another set to make a chopper fork! Welded? Well, no, but we didn't know that welding existed so... I took my awesome Yamaha Motobike apart once, too far apart, and he helped me get it back on the rode, (alley actually:)
Well, it seems that yours truly has acquired the cape and unitard of Bicycle Repair Man. You see, there is a family who have relocated their lives from Detroit to Boone, and their bikes came with them. One of the boys, 15 years old, has been riding around with:
-No drive side bearings in his rear wheel
-Seat post slammed all the way down
-Back break only, shoes worn down to the studs
-Cable housing taped with electrical tape, no ends
-No shifters front or back
-It's a girl's bike!!
Well, he came to the door one day, and asked, as best he could, if I had a wrench. Before I knew it I was 10 minutes late for work. Most of the problems were fixed though, so win/win! He's been coming back any time he sees my car out front, asking if I know how to fix this or that. It's a good feeling to be able to help someone out. (I look like a master mechanic from the other side, just doing the basic stuff that keeps a bike rolling.) Also good to realize that gifts are given to us for sharing. On any little level. The first day that kid rode away with a functioning bike, I can't tell who was happier, me or him. The smiles were ear to ear for both of us. He said simply, "Thank you," and rode off. I think that my time spent hunched over all my old janky beat up bikes has found a purpose for someone other than just me. All in a days work, all in a days work. Later!