Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Hopeful Day, Yesterday

One of my rites of spring: Taking my bike to Eddy's over in Stow, a place Joyce and I have patronized for decades. Spring tune-up time.

I have a 1995 Schwinn, sort of rust red (emphasize rust), a bike Joyce bought for me long ago and which I have ridden ever since. The picture above shows my ride on the porch last April (2016), back from Eddy's, ready to roll.

I don't ride very far in these Advancing Days of Dotage, but I do ride it regularly, virtually every day, spring through snow-fly. It's about a mile from our house to Starbucks, and in the afternoons (when it's not raining), right after lunch, I ride down there, where I'll sit for a couple of hours, sipping and reading and taking notes on whatever I'm reading at the moment. Then ride home.

Hudson is not the most bike-friendly town, but the way I go, I can pretty quickly hook up with a bike path that takes me part of the way. The rest involves sidewalks and driveways of a little shopping area. The only place of (mild) danger is getting across Ohio 303 from College Street. Lots of cars. Sometimes they're accommodating. Sometimes not.

I wear a helmet. I think I've told this story, but here it is again: I used to ride my bike up to Western Reserve Academy, where I taught (2001-11), and one day a snarky young man, seeing me aboard the bike, admired my helmet--with some heavy sarcasm. I snipped back: "Hey, I like my brain. I guess if I had yours, I wouldn't wear a helmet, either."

That wasn't nice--but he knew me, knew I was kidding. (Was I?)

Anyway, yes, I wear a helmet. Flashing lights fore and aft. I ride carefully, cautiously, circumspectly, etc. (Wussily?)

The bike lives in the basement in the winter--not the fairest room in the house, that's for sure. Dank, dark, ignored except when something goes wrong, storage spot for things we don't know what to do with. Source of unpleasant odors now and then.

Getting the bike down there--and then back up again--is an adventure. I used to do it with with dispatch (and even some panache!), but now ... I need help. Joyce's help.

And so yesterday after supper, we descended to the basement, apologized to the spiders for intruding, uninvited, then began the wicked trip back up the steep stairs.

We both survived.

Then--getting it into the back of our Prius (with its fold-down rear seats). Another adventure. Then the drive over to Eddy's. Removing it from the car. (Adventure #3) Rolling it into Eddy's to the service counter, which they've altered since last year. (Unforgivable, change.)

The young technician and I agreed on which spring service plan I needed (middle-range, it seems). As we were finishing, he said, "This looks like it's been in here before."

"Quite a few times," I said. "I bought it here in 1995." Pause. "How old were you then?"

"One," he said. Much too quickly.

That was comforting.

It should be ready by Wednesday, he said, and it will be on Wednesday, if the weather is decent, when I will climb aboard and ride around the parking lot of the funeral home next door (no comments). And it will be during this wee ride--and immediately afterward--that I will decide if it's safe to ride again this year.

Oh, I'm not worried about the safety of the bike. But my own. You see, I've had vertigo the last couple of years (another gift from Dotage), and if I feel dizzy on the bike--or when I dismount--I will no longer ride. I will post a note on Facebook--come and get the bike if you want it.

And I will close yet another door to yet another room from which Father Time has barred me.

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