SOMETIMES I like to slow the pace down. Think trials bike slow but a whole lot easier. The other day, I dusted off the old 6 speed street bike that my daughter Holly rode when I moved us back to FM after the implosion of my marriage.
Since those days the old bike sat in one corner or the other of the garage and maybe not surprisingly from a sentimental kind of guy, made the trip across the continent to my home down south. I thought, hey, never know, maybe Anna and her Mom will come back here some day and having a bike she could ride would be fun.
On one of my previous trips I replaced tubes and although the white wall tires are hard as a Crispy Crunch bar, they still do the job. Finding replacement tires has proven to be somewhat difficult in a 24" size. Not a problem if I'm looking at knobbies but street tires, well that's a different kettle of catfish. The tire width is 1.25" That's right, it's not a misprint, this is a misprint "diqlpdenj"
You see the bike I am talking about is operated by pedals!
The old girl still works surprisingly well proving that old stuff was pretty well built and shouldn't be thrown away just because it's old... and I'm not just talkin' bout bicycles here!
With the weather being quite fine, back pack on my back with a contingent of library books to return to the Glendale Public library and a few replacements to bring back with me... I set off down the back route. It was a sunny Sunday about 21C almost perfect for a pedal.
I cross the busy Olive Avenue and enter the grounds of Glendale Community College, otherwise known as GCC. There are no students about today, only a few people around. I find a young guy sitting at one of the many outdoor seating areas reading a book, a small group of young Hispanic kids having some fun, a pair of lovers smooching in a shaded nook and then there's me. I often come to the college grounds to have a coffee in the Student Union building or just to sit in a shaded spot and reflect on my life or some such nonsense!
I bike across the entire campus which I might add is invitingly beautiful in a inspiring sort of way. Indeed one of the reasons I bought here was the close proximity to the campus. My original intention way back then, was to come live for the winter and take some creative writing courses. As a resident, my course costs are about 1/4 what an out of state student would pay. There some perks of owning my own digs.
Alas, that's never happened. First their was my busy period between December and May as a financial adviser and then their was Brenda... and Anna. Maybe some time in the future as yet unseen, right!
The campus is surrounded by vast parking lots but today they are quiet and empty except for an orange pylon corner with of all things motorcycles going round in circles and shifting gears and concentrating.
Memories or my many years teaching the Canada Safety Council program both out west and east, flood into my mind. Those are some of the VERY best memories of my life. If it's anything on this planet I will be remembered for it will be my lifelong enjoyment of motorcycling. One can have worse legacies after all. I take a few snaps, manage to catch one of the instructors nearby and ask him if this is an MSF* program.
He nods and says it is. I ask him how long he's been teaching, he answers, '9 years'. I ask if the name Peter Fasnacht sounds familiar and he shakes his heads. What a shame. You see Peter was one of the handful of individuals that began training courses in Canada and in fact the world. He was my personal instructor at the Chief Instructors course during a cold February winters week in Ottawa.
For decades after being hired to set up and build a US program, he diligently worked at establishing this program I was looking at.
Not wanting to distract him any longer, I made my way out of the lot and onto the Saguaro Historic Ranch. I often come and sit soaking up the sun or shade as required. I cross the grounds and enter the library from the ranch gate.
I have a Glendale membership and as again, a home owner, I get a card for free! Now that I don't own a TV, I spend many nights reading before bed time (and doing blogs of course)
It's not particularly busy today I drop my books and pick a hand full of new reads and mounted on my 6 speeder once again, head home.
*Motorcycle Safety Foundation
ps Since I did this ride, I found by accident a pedal bike shop in Peoria and guess what... in the storage room covered in dust he finds me 1 each... 1.25" and 1.375" street tires. He's likely had them since the turn of the century but they seem supple enough and next year I will en-devour