Saturday, August 28, 2010

In which I play MacGyver

After all that rain, Thursday was a lovely early fall day,   78 and dry and breezy.
I celebrated by taking Minerva to enjoy the nice dry pavement!

I had the unexpected pleasure of not only biking TO work, but biking FOR work, as I had to meet a subcontractor at a client's house in Beacon hill.  I biked there, let him in,  went back to the office,  and he called me when he was done.  It took less than 10 minutes each way- would have taken 25 or more each way on the T.   I didn't complain at all about an excuse to ride around in the lovely weather.

I also picked up the CSA share at lunch- and it was enormous- my big pannier was overfilled in such a way that I didn't think it would stay closed on the way home.  I realized that I was going to need additional storage, so I went to Boston Adventours,  the bike rental/ tour place that runs a small shop in the North End (the only bike shop in downtown) and bought a cheapo flat rack strap set.  Unfortunately the hooks didn't have anywhere to attach on the drive side (they hooked around the left chainstay OK)  So I played my first round of  MacGyver for the day-  I figured that the SA indicator nut stuck out enough to hold the strap, so I removed the spindle and the nut and looped the strap over the axle end,  then put the nut and spindle back on.  Worked OK, but I really need a rack strap like the one I have on Gilbert that attaches on the axle for real. 

When I got back to the office, I found a leftover basket that Christmas goodies had come in, and cut a pair of holes in the bottom to allow the strap to pass through and hold it on the rack.

At the end of the day I transferred enough veggies into the basket that I could close the pannier,  and headed off, only to find that my skirt was really blowing up pretty badly.  It had been a bit frisky earlier, but now I had 20 pounds of stuff on the back in rush hour traffic.  I needed a solution.
Luckily I saw a couple of giant rubber bands on the side of the road- big enough to fit more or less comfortably on my upper thigh.  How to attach them to my skirt however?  I unbuttoned the lowest button on my dress, and slid the rubber band through, and buttoned it back up.  It worked great!
I was still showing a good deal of leg, but it prevented flashimus maximus.

Over the Longfellow I ran into the owner of the lovely and mysterious Cecil Mixtie.  We had a nice chat heading across the bridge!

Had to stop at the grocery on the way home to get whole milk for the visiting kiddo, and of course my eyes were bigger than my basket, and I ended up with a 6 pack of beer, two bottles of wine, grapes, bread, almond butter, yogurt and olives.  When I told the bagger that it needed to all fit in one bag, he was very skeptical.    I was close to home, so I managed to put the "surplus" veggies back into the big pannier, removed the basket and strapped the brown bag onto the rack.  I think I probably had 35+ pounds of stuff on the back by this point.  I continue to be amazed at what I've managed to carry home on a bike- even if I have to be a bit innovative to make it work out OK.
I didn't move very fast (had a bit of a scare with just the 20 pounds going fast downhill where I thought the rod brakes weren't up to the task) , but I got home fine, and all was well.  It's so good to see far away family, even for a brief evening!

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