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After a week of rain and chill, the weekend continues the trend so gardening and doing anything outdoors was a washout. Sigh. Very frustrating since I still have plants from the plant sale last weekend I need to get in the ground. It eventually stopped raining around 3 this afternoon but the sun never came out and a cold wind is blowing. The forecast for the week ahead is off and on rain. What strange parallel universe did I wake up in where Minneapolis is the new Seattle? It’s possible! Did you hear the news that scientists think they may have found evidence of the multiverse? It is so science fictional it is kind of creepy. If it really is true, the implications are enormous.

Well so with all the wet, there was no gardening at all this week. Between downpours I did get a chance to tour the beds where I have planted seeds and they are all doing really well. The lettuce likes the cool rainy weather we’ve been having very much. As do the peas and radishes. I am looking forward to being able to pick a salad from the garden in a couple weeks.

With all the rain there wasn’t much outdoor biking to be had either. I was able to bike to work on Friday and that was extra nice because it was also National Bike to Work Day. The Minnesota Bike Coalition had a little tent on the bike bridge I take to get to work and they were giving out free stuff. I declined the tote bag with stuff in it I would never use and graciously accepted the little bike lights. One can never have too many bike lights.

Saturday a friend and I took a class at a local bike shop I had never been to before. Freewheel bikes on the Midtown Greenway (a car-free bike “highway”). It was pouring rain and Bookman was kind enough to drop me and Astrid off on his way to work as close to the shop as he could get me (they don’t have a street entry). I was a little early and the shop had no one else in it but employees who were all eager to talk to me. One guy especially was super nice. He is small, about my size, and we had a marvelous discussion about how hard it is to find a bike that fits and how he is working on increasing the shop’s smaller bike inventory.

We also talked 650b wheels versus 700c and how the 650 wheels allow the bike frame to be more correctly proportioned. We talked fenders for Carter too. My seat post does not have enough clearance for a fender on the back and small saddle bag to hold my patch kit and tube. He was totally sympathetic because he has the same problem and he talked options with me. He said if I bring Carter in he’d be glad to help me fit a fender even modify it if need be. I wanted to hug him! This is the sort of thing that small-person bike nerds talk about.

Eventually I had to go to class. It was a basic bike tune up class and Alex the teacher was fantastic. There were five of us in class with varying degrees of experience from absolutely none to have done some things but want to learn more. I learned how to adjust my derailleur and how to index my gears and I am no longer afraid of doing this. Astrid shifts so much better now! Also, I have a new favorite tool, a chain checker. I had no idea I was supposed to be checking my chain regularly to see if it had stretched. It is important to do because a worn out chain wears out your cassette and chainrings both of which are more expensive to replace than a chain. My chain was big time stretched so I got to learn how to put on a new chain.

We also learned how to adjust our brake pads and brakes. I kind of already know how to do this but it was nice to get some pro tips to make sure I am doing it right.

Class lasted about four hours and then I stuffed my pockets with some new lube that is drier than what I have been using so it won’t attract as much dirt, a chain checker of my very own, and a three-way hex wrench. I already have the hex wrenches attached to a small multi-tool but this is bigger and easier to use at home.

And then I had to suit up and ride home in the pouring rain. My friend rode with me for most of the way which was nice because we got drenched together and chatted the whole time making the unpleasant weather tolerable. I only live about four miles from the shop but by the time I got home my shoes were squishy, by jeans soaked though and my gloves dripping. The cycling cap I wore under my helmet was wet but managed to keep my head mostly dry. And my jacket kept me tolerably dry except from my wrists to elbows and my neck and shoulders.

I put on dry, cozy clothes and made myself a hot cup of coffee then snuggled in to read a bit with Waldo and Dickens. Not a bad way to recover from a wet bike ride.

Fingers crossed that the week ahead allows for both biking and gardening!

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