I got a new bike, and it’s an adventure story.

Sometime last summer, on two separate occasions, we found two bicycles on the side of the road in Naugatuck with a free signs. Neither was in great condition: they were dirty, rusty, and had flat tires. For some reason, despite M’s insistence that we start biking, they were put in our garage and ignored. During her long period without school-work, however, she got them out and started cleaning and rebuilding one. The other was discarded. Before she could complete her work on it — or even put it all back together — we moved to Boston. We brought the bike, in pieces, with us.

She dropped the pieces off at Federico’s Bike Shop on Emerson St about half a mile away. She had called ahead, but they still were surprised and amused by (what they called) the “bike destroyer”. Our neighbor had warned us that they were slow there, and they were clearly quite busy, but it was okay; I had waited a year, so I wasn’t really in any rush.

My new bikeThey called a few weeks later to let us know that it was done and ready to be picked up. For something like fourty dollars, they put it all back together, degreased and regreased the parts that needed it, and even replaced a couple damaged pieces. I consider it a huge bargain. M was working on a beautiful Sunday, so I decided to go pick it up and maybe bike to City Point. With only a blank check and my phone in my pockets, I left home. Immediately I realized that I was locked out. After trying to break in through my own windows (I was unwilling to cut the screens) and thinking whether our upstairs neighbors could help (no, we haven’t given them a spare key), I realized my only option was two miles away saving lives.

It’s a really great thing that I had what I had, because I was able to pay for the bike and ride it to the hospital. It was a surprisingly smoooth experience, considering the fact that the bike wasn’t really sized for me (the seat was too high and the handlebars too low), and I hadn’t ridden a bike probably since high school. I had no bike lock, so I had to wait outside, hot, thirsty, and feeling stupid while M did vastly more important things. She eventually came out, deservedly berated me for my idiocy, and made me wear her helmet in punishment. I have a massive noggin, and she does not, so it looked sort of like a strapped-on fez.

Unsurprisingly, I suffered a flat tire on my way home.