Army of Darkness

A service provider, having just toured my backyard, said he loved my Army of Darkness bike.  I hope I am not jinxing the deal by talking about it early, but I offered it to him.  He was pumped and said he’d be back at the end of his route.  I hope the excitement doesn’t wear off before he retrieves it.  It needs a new loving home.  

I bought the bike on eBay about a decade ago.  It came from a town in the northeast the name of which I have forgotten.  Providence, Rhode Island, comes to mind, but I can’t be sure.  I was the only one in the world to bid on the bike.  The sale price was maybe $30 plus a bunch more for shipping.

It arrived at my law office in Omaha in a big box.  I closed my door, unboxed it, assembled it, then rolled it through the halls and into the elevator to take it home.  I wonder what my 100 or so colleagues thought?  Omaha is no San Francisco, right?  

Lacey met me at work and we pedaled it on the roof of the firm’s new parking garage.  It was our first tall bike experience.  It might have been the first tall bike in Omaha (excepting, of course, the ordinaries from the 1890s, some of which were very tall).  It wasn’t even that tall.  Just tall enough to require dismounting at every stop.

I enjoyed it immediately.  Lacey did, too (until it was time to stop).  I had warned her that stopping and dismounting needed to happen simultaneously, but she didn’t fully appreciate the warning when the time for coordinated actions arrived.  She stopped just fine, but then remained in the saddle for a second or so, at which point gravity took over.  She did a full TIMBER to the ground as I watched helplessly (too far away to try to arrest her fall).  She hit her helmetless head, but not hard.  She was fine.  If you’ve done any adventuring with her you know she is tough as nails.  I am always impressed.  Impressed also that she never got back on.  Smart woman.  

I am not as smart.  I pedaled that darn thing all over Omaha.  Once up and down Omaha’s rolling hills in sweltering heat on the 4th of July.  I’ve pedaled it here, too, but not as far or as often.  I think the last time was a Halloween critical mass ride four or more years ago.  The floating chainring chain tensioner has a habit of flying free and rolling down the street like a weakly thrown ninja star.  Usually about once a mile.  [Aside:  Sorry about the rusty chain.  I can assure you this is the only chain I’ve ever allowed to rust in my 45 years.  Letting it happen once, even on a bike I don’t want anyone to ride, feels bad.]

The first time the floating chainwheel flew free during the Halloween CM ride the group left me when I stopped to reinstall the chainring.  Kind of cold, don’t you think?  Then I noticed one friend had stayed behind.  We didn’t try to catch the group.  We just pedaled home.  Kind of a sad last journey, but it was nice to learn one friend had my back. I’ve known him all of our seven years here and he still has my back.  In the hit parade of friends, he’s a classic.  A keeper.

No seat post binder bolt required.  Rust is more secure.

I’ve tried to sell it at a couple of garage sales, but I’d discourage anyone who expressed interest.  I’d say the welds aren’t great so it isn’t safe to ride.  I’d hate for anyone to be hurt.  So there it sat in my back yard.  This guy today who said he loved it wasn’t phased by my warnings.  I don’t think he wants to ride it.  Seems like he just loves the art.  Good on him.  I’ll miss it.  It has been in my life for a long time.  Still, I’ll be glad to have one less bike.

The bike was made by a crew of freak bike builders for a parade.  They made one for each season and mine was named Autumn.  I just found pictures from the eBay sale.  Here’s the maker.  

Here’s the maker making it go.  He isn’t a goofball.  He is simply enjoying a side effect of pedaling Autumn.  If pedaling Autumn didn’t give you a demonic grin, I’d be concerned for your mental health.  Imagine if you made it!  The joy!  

The art is from the movie Army of Darkness.  I didn’t know that until a friend in Albany pointed it out (same friend who stuck by me on Autumn’s last ride).  I still need to see the movie.  I had the address of the bicycle builders website long ago, but that, too, is lost.  They seemed like a fine group undertaking many good natured adventures.  If you read this, send me a note to let me know what you are up to today.  Sorry about the digs on your welds.  They are probably fine–they never let me down.  I am just overly safety minded, is all.

If Autumn is picked up as promised, thus will end my tall bike career.  It is a funny thing as you get older.  Sometimes you end something and you can feel you will probably never do it again.  That’s not the funny part, though.  The funny part is I’m not really saddened by the loss.  I feel good enough that I’ve pedaled a tall bike at all. There are still so many things to try.  Onward!

A neighbor’s door was open wide as I walked by this morning.  I know the neighbor is old.  I now know they are 96 years old.  I called the police to have them check it out.  I was pretty sure my call would turn out to be a false alarm, but why take a chance?  Police are here to help and I don’t mind letting them decide which calls to take first.  The police arrived in less than 5 minutes.  Another neighbor saw the police and told them the neighbor had left for vacation.  The police walked the house and nothing looked amiss, but you can’t be sure until the owner comes home.  The house is locked now and the alarm is set.  Glad I called.  Another neighbor had seen the door open and thought maybe they wanted it open.  Really?  Come on!  What’s the harm in calling?

That’s about it.  Later!

4 responses to “Army of Darkness

  1. Never saw this bike when you lived in Omaha, Randy, and I’m sure I would have remembered it if I did. Not saying you didn’t have it there (of course) just never laid eyes on it. Lisa’s a big Army of Darkness fan. She’s probably not a big fan of rusty, tall, questionable welded, free chain wheeling bikes. But the double-sided Army of Darkness mural would pull her in. Love the photo of it’s creator. Isn’t that what we’re all feeling (at least on the inside) when we ride.

    Thanks for calling the cops on your 96 year old neighbor’s house. That’s what we’re put here for. Plus, cops are good at walking through empty houses and locking them back up again.

    • I’d better see that movie! I wish we were local. You could plant the bike in your garden and let peas grow all over it. Not worth the shipping (I can assure you). As I feared, the guy who had to have it didn’t come by. Or maybe he did when I was down at the river. Maybe he’ll try again.

      Where was that bike kept in Omaha? Probably the garage. That poor garage. It held my car, three motorbikes and whatever bikes weren’t in the basement.

      Nice yo hear from you. Hope you are all doing well. Happy summer!

  2. Not knowing you beyond occasionally reading your blog, I am mildly surprised you didn’t knock at your neighbour’s first, yourself. I can understand not going in if there was no answer, but at least knocking seems like the neighbourly kind of thing that you would believe in.

    Glad everyone was OK!

    ~Robin

    • Thought about it. Then thought better of it. Had intruders been present, I didn’t want anything to do with it, and I had no way of knowing who was inside. That’s what police are for and I am happy to let them decide what to do. As it is, two cars showed up. If police think two armed police officers are required to be safe in the situation, no way one middle aged vegan buddhist is going to cut the mustard!

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