Pac Man and I walk to the thrift store. Both bikes are gone. We check with the Pastor of the church we’re now living behind. He just sold a bike at a garage sale. We head over to Bodfish Bicycles. I tell the owner Chuck that I’m looking for a super cheap used bike. He considers it for a bit and then tells me he has a rental bike that once belonged to a protégé of Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde.
The bike fits me perfectly in all ways. I tell Chuck that I will take the bike if we can find another one for Pac Man. Bodfish tells us about Mike, a man in town that has a bunch of frames and bike parts. He describes how to get to his house. We walk over and Mike’s wife answers the door. As we tell her more about our plan she warms to its brilliance. She drives us to Mike who is helping a neighbor with a yard sale. We explain to Mike what we’re thinking and he tells us to meet him the next morning at Coffee Station.
At 8:30am we reconnoiter at Coffee Station. Mike, like so many others we encounter in Chester, is genuine and helpful. We’re becoming intertwined with this community. He takes us to a small warehouse at the edge of town. Up in the loft there are about 30 bikes and a number of frames, stacks of rims, and buckets of pedals, headsets, and derailers. This will not be plug-and-play. Mike is patient and, after a while, we’ve amassed a pile of parts that can make a working bike. We let our friends know that things are moving forwards and Gizmo and Dirtnap want to join us.
Mike drives us over to Bodfish Bicycles and Chuck kindly let’s Pac Man use his tools to assemble his new wheels in the space behind the shop. I used to be a bike messenger and Gizmo recently took a bike repair class, so we’re able to crowd source the assembly. Conveniently, Bodfish has two other bikes for Dirtnap and Gizmo.
We spend the next 12 hours finding plastic buckets and hardware to make panniers and figuring out a route. It’s raining and Toothfairy lets us make camp under the garage at the dental office.
In the morning we have one last coffee at the Station and head out. Life at 10mph is a whole new beast!