Thursday, May 21, 2009


Yesterday, I took the bike to the local bike shop in Johnstown. We went through it there, piece by piece, and talked about what could and should be adjusted, and why. Then we made the adjustments we thought beneficial. I wanted to pay them, expecting about $100. They agreed to take $7.55.

In the morning, my bike had a flat in the front, and the back wheel was out of alignment. I took it back to them, we figured out what the issues were, and adjusted for them. They didn't take any money from me. The ride to Utica after that was the smoothest so far—the rear wheel went out of alignment again a couple times, taking me approximately a cumulative five minutes to fix.

I did about half the ride through the foothills of the Adirondacks, and the remaining half through the valley, right along the river. Google Maps led me down several closed roads, which was fine with me because the bike had no problems getting around the barriers. I ate lunch on a blocked-off and deserted section of road right on the river, with grass growing through the pavement.

Eventually, I came out to towns again, and, after a while, the crumbling mills of eastern Utica appeared. (Abandoned mills seem to be a general feature of the northeast, not just New England.)

I remembered books like Dreiser's American Tragedy that took place in the Mohawk Valley in the early part of the 20-th century. References to great, universal things involved the phrase "Albany and Utica." I had crossed their world. Two easy days on a bike.

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