Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Trip to the Hardware Store

Each person who rides has their personal inventory of reasons to get out on a bike.  Depending on the day, these include: exercise, transportation, community, enjoying the outdoors, competition and recreation.  For one particular rider it appears to be like a trip to the hardware store.

On a recent ride we were returning home on Highway 195 and I hear him exclaim "Oh!" behind me and come to a stop.  My mind is reeling with possibilities as I stop to see what happened.  Did he flat, or cramp, or get a critter in his spokes?  What would cause a cyclists to suddenly abandon forward momentum in a headwind?

As I rolled back to his position I saw him examining something as if he were a Spandex-clad Indiana Jones with a valuable ancient artifact. There he was with a huge smile on his face and what appeared to be a large metal hook.  He was mumbling incoherently about how this would be perfect for his pickup or tractor or something as he eyed his new prize.

If you have spent much time on the area roads you may have noticed that they are littered with all sorts of things from glass to car engines and tools.  This guy is a professional at a well-respected financial institution who uses his bike rides for a hardware scavenger hunt.  I can only imagine the list of desirable items he has scrolling through his head on each bike ride.  It probably ranges from 12mm sockets to a Flux Capacitor. He was raised on a farm so I guess he knows what to do with all  the tools and implements the rest of us routinely dodge while riding.  Me, I have enough old parts and things I never use in my garage.

I have occasionally read about this type of behavior in the Cycling Spokane blog, but never witnessed it in person.  Apparently it helps keep the roads clean and reduces their carbon footprint by recycling.  The item in question easily weighed more than this person's bike so I was even more amazed when he stuffed it into his jersey pocket and remounted his bike. Then he spun away with his jersey stretched to the point of just barely clearing his rear tire.

The good news is the extra weight allowed me to quickly catch back up and match his pace for the remainder of the ride.  I have a new strategy for riding with him now.  I will litter the road with shiny tools and parts before riding with him on days when I am feeling a bit sluggish and get a secret rest stop each time he stops to examine a new artifact.  Eventually, he will have so much extra weight in his pockets that even I will be able to match his pace.  Sometimes smart is better than fit when it comes to cycling.

See you on the road.

1 comment:

  1. I have found numerous items along the roadways while riding my bike in the area; mobile phone (NOT cell phone)car parts, lumber, books, a big bag of marijuana, CD's, DVD's, VHS tapes, wallets, even cash (The lagest single amount was about $300)I am never affraid to stop and investigate. A couple of times, I had to note the lovcation and come back in my car - too big for the jesey pocket -