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davew's picture

Bikes and Boxes

I was at the post office yesterday and I noticed this guy. First I noticed him because he was parking his bike next to mine and then because he was schlepping this big package under one arm. That's not easy. I tried it myself last week with a bulky, heavy box that was too big for my panniers, and I was too lazy to hook up the cargo trailer. My arm got tired pretty quickly. Even if the box wasn't heavy it was big enough to be awkward. And it was heavy. Pedaling was cumbersome because my leg tended to collide with the package on each revolution. (And yes, I still mean the box.) I tried a few things to make it more comfortable. Eventually I had a brainstorm, switched the box to my left hand, stopped pedaling, and used the throttle. Yes, the throttle. I rarely use it so I almost forget it's there, but the Bionx system has a manual override. I could even get up to 20 mph, although my brain told me that this was unlikely to be a wise course of action. After that, and once I figured out that low-speed maneuvering with that much weight is best avoided, things went rather swimmingly. I even collected a very odd look from another biker that I passed. Collecting odd looks is one of my life passions.

Anyway the guy at the post office. He was riding an unpowered bike. Truly studly. I was about to congratulate him on his manliness when I noticed the walking cast on his left leg. Way more studly than I had previously imagined. I struck up a conversation.

Me: "Big box, small bike, broken leg. You are definitely the man."

Dude: "Yeah, thanks. My girlfriend says I always try to do more than I can handle though."

Me: "Such as."

Dude: "You noticed the cast, right? Well a couple of weeks back I was carrying another box and decided to stop off for a latte. I could get started and then ride along pretty well with the box in one hand and the latte in the other and letting the steering take care of itself."

Me: "What about stop signs?"

Dude: "What about 'em?"

Me: "Good point. So what happened?"

Dude: "Then my cell phone rang..."


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