9.14.2006,10:07 PM
The Continuing Education of Whee: Quattro Parte. Whee gets new running shoes and gloves.
The alarm rudely awoke me from a good dream. I banged on the 'Sleep' button. It was no use; sleep was elusive, has been for a few weeks now.


Up at 4 am and start the ritual: toilet, coffee brewing, turn on laptop, stir together breakfast while waiting for caffeine fix and laptop to boot. Mind churning and stumbling over sleep residues and dream fragments. Oh God; I've been doing too much cloning at work. I now even sleep and think in DNA fragments and residues. Next I'll be reciting cutting enzymes in my sleep with giant hideous mutant fruit flies slapping my fingers if I forget one.

Checking email and weather nothing captivates my attention and the laptop is powered down to sleep. My little electronic friend that sits on the couch all day waiting for me to come home. The day I hear a voice when I open the door "Welcome home, Human!" I will hang up my computers.

All geared up and somewhere to go, pouring the remaining coffee in my thermos, I went out to pull the blanket off Whee: "Time to wake up, sleepy head!!"

The bike cover is covered with dew and my mesh pants are soon wet while removing it. Stuff items in side bags, trying to balance the load, and the wet bike cover is rolled in a wedge, shoved into the tailbag. Start Whee to warm up while I don the rest of my gear.

It's pitch black outside, hardly a sound except an occasional car out on the road. The only lights other than the neighbor's outdoor lamp are the stars. And they shine bright this morning. I smile while stealing a few moments gazing at the bright pinpoints in the dark ceiling overhead. Thinking of how different it may look when I am out of civilization and enter another dimension of humanless landscape. And I am reminded of someone who shares my affinity for the stars, wondering if he has stolen any time to gaze at them, too. And wondering what he sees as they are reflected in his mind.

Literally escaping campus early and snoozing on the train home, I dread navigating in rush hour traffic to the bike shop. I'm already late. Pulling up in front of the overhead door, the helmet and jacket are nearly ripped off; sweat is dribbling down my back and chest.
We talk suspension after prefacing with jokes. I can't provide him with an accurate estimate of weight load on the upcoming trip, but I hazard a guess of 75-100 pounds. Not including me, which is a topic of light teasing given my feather weight.

So we roll the bike in and tinker with back preload, damping and then the front damping. I sit on the bike while measurements are taken, then asked to bounce it. Eyes roll at my attempts to bounce the bike with my featherweight body and Cliff has to manually bounce the front and rear with his own weight.

Taking a sideview while Cliff bounces it, his tech and I see how unbalanced it is. The front has greater rebound than the rear, which may account for why the front tire is wearing faster than the rear, and why bumps are so jarring. Cliff adjusts the front damping to match the rear and asks me to test ride it before Saturday.

I asked their opinion of the wear on the front tire: the tread is significantly worn compared to that on the rear. Everyone
at last Tuesday night's Meet 'n Greet scratched their heads on this observation , commenting that the rear tire usually wears much sooner than the front. My hypothesis was that most of the weight is on the front with this bike. Cliff confirmed that explanation.

Although he felt the tread was sufficient enough for round-trip (~2500 miles), the tire would require replacing upon my return. That degree of uncertainty and probability was enough to instill a discomfort with the safety of the tire. For my own peace of mind, we agreed that it should be replaced. Of course another tire couldn't be located in the Metroplex area so we had to order a complete set of Tourance Dualsport tires to put on. That's a hard blow to the financial pocket.

Feeling benevolent, he scheduled the bike in for Saturday morning to put on the new set of tires and a set of Probend handguards on the bar to deflect the wind and keep my hands warmer. The 40 minutes of shivering in the dark on the way to the train station the other morning was...... uncomfortable.

Whee gets a new pair of running shoes and gloves, Rider gets a big hole in savings account and a new pair of insulated waterproof overpants.

Closer to Ready for Take-off........
posted by Macrobe
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