First Week at Work: Things Can Only Improve

It's now Friday, the end of my first week back at work, and things can only get better. I took a test bicycle ride to work and back on the prior Sunday to see how long it takes. The bike performed without issue and everything seemed good to go. On Monday I was all ready to head in on my bike that I picked up used for not too much money. It even came with a free lock!

After riding along for 3 miles past the road construction that wasn't there the day before, I started hearing a clicking noise at regular intervals. I looked down at the bike and just chocked it up to the rear derailleur being a little old. But after a minute I was certain the noise was new, and noticed that my rear tire was completely flat thanks to the enormous nail sticking out of it. Thanks, construction guys.

Meanwhile, Erin was peacefully at home in bed until she was woken up by a phone call -- me needing to be picked up and driven to work. Oh what a wonderful way to start the week. She'd also have to come drive in to pick me up after work, leaving her celebratory first-day dinner plan in ruins.

Over the next three days at work I would freak out because I was under the impression that I needed to finish the project that I received on day one by day two, and I hadn't yet. Doubts about whether I was up to snuff for silicon valley crept in. I had never used a single tool (language, framework, IDE, etc.) in use at my new job before, but I still had the amazing ability to conjure a sickening fear of failure. Completely unfounded, but debilitating nonetheless.

This morning I found out that I was a day ahead of schedule, much to my relief. I popped out of work to pick up a patch kit and some spare bicycle tires near work and was all ready to bike in on Friday. Little did I know my bike was old and busted, a lemon about to really surprise me late after arriving home from an evening at my brother's house.

It's midnight and I need to fix a flat. I've got spare tubes and a pump so I figure I'll just pump up a new one and fix the punctured one some other time. This goes awry when I find that the wheel in question has been wrenched so tightly in place that I can't get the wheel off for the life of me (yes, it's old enough to not be an easy-release wheel) . I have bruised hands from trying. Somewhere around this time I start wondering if I should have purchased a new bike.

After a little thinking I wiggle off the tire and tube while the wheel is still on the bike and manage to patch the hole. It's now 2am but at least I'm getting somewhere. I proceed to put everything back together and pump up my two tires. Everything is finally going to work, I think. I roll the bike along to see if everything's working. I notice that the wheels have become off-center, brushing up against the brakes periodically.

After trying to center the wheels for a good 45 minutes of trial and repeated error I realize through my exhausted stupor that the frames are simply bent. There's no re-adjusting I can do to this junker to get things running smoothly. The bike was advertised as getting new wheels within the past year, but I know now it was just the tires. As I'm resigning myself to riding a shoddy bike 6 miles in to work on 5 hours of sleep the next morning the air is ripped open with a bang louder than any firework I've ever heard. The rear tire, which I have just finished patching over a terrible 2.5 hours, has just burst.

In the end all I ended up with was stress, lost sleep, a plan to purchase a new bike in the morning, and an extremely expensive lock.

(no, that picture is not my bike, just what I'd like to do to it).

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