Bike Shop Monday

Big Nellie is cursed. About every other summer, Big Nellie ends up at the bike shop for repairs for weeks. During the last few rides, the steering on Big Nellie has been erratic. I can’t quite explain it but it is definitely not right. Sometimes it feels as if the front wheel is going to disconnect from the bike. Other times it seems like the front wheel is riding in a rut in the road. So I took the bike to my local bike shop. There was a long line for repairs, this being a holiday and good weather.

As happened yesterday, the mechanic could find nothing obviously wrong. So he took the bike for a test ride. I thought I would have to give him some tips because riding a long wheel base recumbent is entirely different from riding a regular bike. This mechanic however worked for several years in a bike shop in Portland Maine where he frequently worked on Tour Easy recumbents. I couldn’t believe my luck.

After his test ride he still wasn’t sure what I was finding wrong with the steering so we decided to do some exploratory surgery. (Frankly, I am scared to ride the thing at this point.)  It could be a problem with the headset, the bearings or the fork inside the tubing of the bike. Hopefully, he won’t find something fatal like a crack in the head tube. Fingers crossed.

I went home and decided to go for a ride on The Mule. The Mule has conventional pedals and straps and after five miles I missed the Speedplay Frogs on Big Nellie. So I decided to ride to REI and get anothe pair. It was in the 90s and my ride took me across Alexandria, a hilly ride. I used the new bicycle lane on King Street. It’s painted a bright green and looks pretty spiffy.

King Street Bike Lane

REI was pretty busy. I tried some Keen cycling sandals while waiting for a sales person. They looked really wide but felt horrible on my feet. Luckily a sales person appeared because I was in buy mode and lord knows what I would have found to haul home if I waited any longer. The clerk went looking for the Frogs and came back empty handed.


I rode home but stopped at The Dairy Godmother in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. I consumed a root beer float. They didn’t have any more vanilla ice cream so they made my float with caramel heath bar ice cream. I am pretty sure this concoction is on the short list to be classified as a controled substance by the Food and Drug Administration.

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Rootbeer Float

When I got home, I ordered some Frogs online. (For some reason, REY doesn’t include them in its online catalogue. Their loss.)

Tomorrow it’s back to work. By bike, of course.


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