83. Pump Up the Tires and Ride the Bike


The blue bike was sitting in Owen's living room. It had no kickstand, so he had wedged the front tire in between two bookshelves so that the bike would stand upright. Both tires were flat. Dust covered the bike. However, no household spiders had set up a web site. When was the last time I rode this thing, he wondered as he looked at it.

It was Sunday. Sunset was still almost two hours away. The temperature had been 86 at noon, but had dropped to about 76. Owen had spent Saturday and most of Sunday cleaning up his apartment. The termite inspector was coming on Monday. Owen wanted the inspector to be able to "inspect" without tripping over boxes, books, fishing rods, and golf clubs.

Owen was going to reward himself with a late afternoon bicycle ride. He enjoyed riding or walking through his neighborhood with its many beautiful houses, yards, and trees. But first, he had to inflate both bike tires. He got out a hand air pump he had bought at a thrift shop for only $2. The pump nozzle adapter didn't fit onto the bike's valve stem. Nothing is ever simple, he thought.

He looked for his new pump, the one that had cost $10. It had all the bells and whistles: high volume air flow on both up and down strokes, quick lock valve adapter and four nozzle adapters, air gauge, and footplate for easy pumping. It was a beauty. Of course, Owen couldn't find it. I've got everything, but I can't find anything, Owen muttered.

As usual, Owen did find one thing while he was looking for another thing. He found another used pump that he had been looking for a month ago. It was a big, heavy, steel pump that had an air gauge and a small leak somewhere. Owen connected the pump to the rear tire. He started pumping. The "small" leak seemed to have gotten bigger. Owen stopped counting after the first 80 pumps; finally the dial hit 65 psi. He was huffing and puffing. He went to the refrigerator and got a diet soda. After finishing it, he pumped up the front tire. Sweat dripped from his forehead. That was a good workout, he thought as he finished off a second soda. He screwed the valve stem caps back on. He stood back and admired his "new" tires proudly.

The bike was now ready to ride. Owen, however, felt a little tired. Plus, he was hungry. In fact, it looked like it was getting too dark for a long ride. There's always tomorrow, he thought as he opened the refrigerator door. The chilled air felt good.

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