Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Bike Library?

Who would have guessed that the university in our city has a bike lending library?  Having difficulty finding the place, I asked 10 people for directions and not one of them had ever heard of the place.  I eventually found it in a plain looking building connected to what is called the "Dentistry Pharm" building.  A place that I thought involved dentistry on livestock.
Near here

It was surprising to enter the bike library.  Much more spacious that I had thought and lo and behold! it looked like a bike repair shop.  Repair stands scattered about, wrenches and assorted bike tools hanging from hooks above work benches.  And of course dozens of bikes ready to be rented.
Bike Library

Nathan, a university student, runs the library.  You could call him the librarian.  No bow tie on this guy.  A natty tweed cap covers his dark curls.  Wearing pedals pushers, he looks like a modern, educated, bike rider.  The rest of his clothing is hidden beneath a grimy apron and his hands are stained with grease.  Your basic bike mechanic turned librarian.
The librarian himself

The bikes themselves have been donated and all of them are sprayed a forest green colour and are available only to students, staff and visiting dignitaries.  Each bike comes with a bell, two lights and a U-lock.  Nathan throws in a bicycle map of the city as well.  A very good deal at ten dollars a week!  Renters use their university "One Card" which means that you don't even need a separate library card to get mobile at our institution of higher learning.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

All Washed Up

Seeing a waterproof bag in a camping store reminded me that I should buy one in case I ever go near water again with my camera and other valuables in hand.  This year my son, Ragnar the Trader and I plan to take a bikepacking trip to celebrate his thirtieth birthday. It occurred to me that we should plan to stop in Midway and rent a canoe for the afternoon, drift down the Kettle River and then relax around a campsite.
Being that close to the U S of A will be fun!

Twice in the past my cycling buddy Roy and I have rented a canoe from Steve, the manager of the campground in Midway and drifted for a couple of hours down the river, quaffing beer and taking photographs.  Last year on our "Best of" tour, we discovered a small inlet where we could safely tie up the canoe and then jump from a nearby cliff into the cool and clear water.
 My son seems to like the idea of this particular tour even though it does involve climbing a mountain twice - once on the way to Grand Forks and then again on the way back to Midway.  That part didn't thrill him.  But when I described the air conditioned liquor store in Grand Forks and its vast selection of cold beer and that the store is right next to an A&W, Ragnar became downright enthused!
Look at the chicks man!
 The canoe trip will be one of the highlights of our tour as long as neither of us tip the canoe into the river the way Roy and I did last year.  We got completely soaked but luckily I managed to hold my camera and wallet out of the water. We did have to pay Steve twenty bucks for one of the paddles we lost.  We're still blaming each other for capsizing the canoe even though we both know that it was Roy grabbing an over-hanging branch that caused the spill.  This year it won't matter as much since I'll have my stuff in a waterproof pouch.