Thursday, September 16, 2010

the bike fairy

so i was over at this geocache and there was not only a truckload of people, but there was a bike locked to the post at the cache, so i not only have an audience, but i might be mistaken for a bike thief.

it's a bike that clearly somebody uses for commuting, and the chain and pulley wheels and derailleurs are not just dirty, but full of grease and grit and i figure if i'm in for a penny, i might as well be in for a pound.

now other people, when hunting geocaches, try to look all unobtrusive and sneaky like, but not me. i have have gone on record as saying that the best way to arouse suspicion is to try to appear un-suspicious looking.

of course i also have to park RIGHT UP NEXT TO THE CACHE,  so here's my funky little diagram:

[ ]  [.] [ ] [ ]
[ ] [.]     [ ] [ ]
          this is where i have to park.

[ ] = empty vehicle
[.] = occupied vehicle
o = post to which bike is chained, and where cache is located

so i pull up into the convenient empty slot, get out of my car, and scope out the post with the bike chained to it. there's a kind of hostile looking guy in the pickup truck next to the pole, or maybe i'm just imagining that he's hostile looking because he has a "maine terrorist hunting license" sticker right on his driver's side window, so i'm looking at it when i get out of my car.

then since i don't feel like exposing the cache location with hostile man (his new superhero name) right there, i do the only thing a right-thinking person would do: i open up my tailgate and take out a soft rag and a can of boeing T-9 and i begin to clean up the rear derailleur, chain, and pulley wheels of the bike.

it takes me a while, and i go back to my car a couple of times and while this is happening hostile man apparently gets sick of me being there. perhaps i am interfering with his sitting and doing nothing, but in a great show of fury or impatience he fires his truck into motion and while i am moving between my car and his truck he takes off at a speed not safe for parking lots, as if he is in a very big hurry to get to someplace important to which he is late and i have been standing in his way.

it turns out that the "someplace important" is another parking place two aisles over, where he sits and does nothing again. after a while he gets out and gets himself a cup of coffee. this takes him a long time, but he does it in as hostile a fashion as possible, which is difficult, since now he has to project this hostility at me from a farther distance.

i'm still busy cleaning that derailleur and chain and pulley wheels, and they are a greasy, gritty mess, so much of a mess that i don't notice at first that the pulley wheels aren't solid. they have that much gunk in them.

i go back to my car and take out a nice clean sheet of paper and a pen and with my greasy hands i write a note to bike guy:

dear bike guy,

i was here to do something else and while i was here i cleaned and lubed your chain, your pulley wheels, your rear derailleur and some of your gears. i didn't have my brushes or other tools with me so it isn't perfect, but it's a good start. i used a high quality low-density lube on everything, so you'll probably want to toss on something heavier grade to keep the road dirt out later on.

i signed it

the bike fairy.

somewhere during the process (once hostile man had finally quit glaring at me in his rearview mirrors and driven off at full speed), i found the cache and cleaned up my stuff, leaving the note for bike guy.

later on someone asked me: what if he didn't want his bike cleaned?

well then, he can't catch up to me.

i'm gone.

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