It was a really rough two weeks teaching two classes. I have some exciting, but demanding, administrative work, but I am not really clear on how I feel about all of it. I should say that I am so tied up in things to do that I cannot see the “meta” of my life. Or, if you prefer, I can’t see the forest for the trees. But here is the latest on Kiko, and I did a good hour, or two paragraphs at the end, where he has won the race and some observations. (it started here, and was last published here)
That weekend, when Mike and Kiko rode Croak wasn’t there but Kiko was stronger and more able to use the bike Mike was lending him. The brakes, gears, ride and fit all became more and more comfortable. In fact Kiko now realized what a bad fit (and bike) he had on Sra Choi’s bike that he had been riding out to Jamaica and back every day for the last few months. Bent over the impossibly light “bicicleta de papel” as he had named it in the awkward carnero cuerno (ram-horned) handlebars week after week became more comfortable. He could feel the resistance that his upright work-bike had been subjecting him to and he looked forward to bending down out of the wind.
One weekend, so convinced of the superiority of the lowered position, he went back home and took the handlebars off of a kids’ “racing bike” he found in a vacant lot and replaced the mountain bars on his bike. Where was a whole sunday of problems to solve concerning the basket, brakes, grip-shifters, but when he had finished they all -,ore or less- worked. Of course it looked like the eccentric 3rd world piece of engineering that it was, but Kiko was proud of his handiwork and excited about not having to fight the wind everytime someone wanted bacon and eggs delivered to their home.
That same Monday Croak rolled up with his bolsa mesengero pulled tight across his chest like un bandolero de Pancho Villa and laughed at Kiko’s handiwork. “Man look at that, you look like you’re gonna ride back into the 70s with that time machine!”
“I liking the drop bars so I get me some,” explaining with pride, “the gears and brakes they no fit so well, but I make them work just fine, like new as long as I pull forward when I turn.” In order to get the new handlebars working he had turned the basket sideways, modified some of the hardware with washers, nuts and bolts, used zip-ties in other places. The handlebar tape that covered the wires from the ill fitting twist shifters and mountain bike brakes was silver. Kiko had cut the strips in half so that they wouldn’t gather and bubble, but this had caused lots of threads to form like dashboard hula dancer’s skirt or science fiction cobwebs.
Croak rode with Kiko until his delivery weaving in and out of traffic. They rode side-by-side in some cases and one or the other would zip in front when they needed to go single file. Who would take the lead and who would follow was communicated and agreed upon silently with little more than muscle tenses and shrugs. In these short rides Kiko learned about drafting and pack riding in ways that years in a club pack can never teach.