I was planning on riding last night, but with rain in the forecast, it didn’t seem like a good idea. But somehow, it still seemed like a good idea to ride to the Bloomington Community Bicycle Project to do some work on the old Sears bike. I was counting on the fact that it was supposed to rain and hoping that nobody else would be crazy enough to be there.
Well, I was dead wrong. When I arrived, there were numerous people working inside, and several outside as well. I started working on replacing the front inner tube, and it began to rain. I had to mess around with the rim tape a bit, as the tape that was in there was disintegrating, and they didn’t have any rim tape. Well, they said I could take some off one of the many wheels that was hanging from the ceiling, but I was not excited about taking apart one of their wheels to take the rim tape, especially in the rain. So I made do with the tape that was on there. I’ll probably still have to replace it soon.
When the rain started, most people went inside. Another guy and I stayed and worked under a small awning. But nobody left. I helped the guy remove his tire so he could replace the tube. I think the tire was too small for his rim, as it was nearly impossible to get it off. Finally, we managed to get it off, but not before we were both covered in black stuff, probably bits of brake pad stuck to the rim.
I changed my rear inner tube too, and had the same problem with the rim tape. I’ll probably have to redo both and put new tape in them. I really should have done that at home and only done the things I needed help/tools for at the Bike Project. I didn’t get any help this time, although I didn’t explicitly ask anyone for help.
By the time I finished replacing the rear tube and putting the rear wheel back on, I was pretty frustrated. I was wet and filthy and hadn’t accomplished much, and I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect of riding home in the rain.
But as I grumbled and headed toward home, something happened. A big smile came over my face. I was having a blast! That bike is a lot of fun to ride, and it did pretty well in the rain. The thing isn’t perfect by any means, but I was having a blast. The bike path portion of the ride was very dark due to the dark clouds and how overgrown the path was, but that just added one more fun challenge.
So the trip wasn’t a total loss — not at all. Now I’m more excited about fixing up that old bike. And I’m sort of a perfectionist about my bikes, generally, but I was reminded that all the little tweaks you do to your bike may help somewhat, but you can have just as much fun on a 40-year-old bike that’s had little done to it.