I decided last Thursday that I would chase a bird. A trip to Lake Cleone to try for the Black-capped Chickadee was in order. Although it had been 6 days since it had been seen, I thought, “what the hell–go for it”. I learned on the bus trip into town that there was a MTA Board meeting that afternoon and the big boss was going to attend. I decided that if I had time I would go. Arriving at the entrance to MacKerricher State Park I locked my bike to a flagpole (no bike racks) across from the Gray Whale Skeleton. I should have taken a picture.
I found these pictures on web. Don’t know who took them but they work.
After birding the road to Highway One I was on my way to the trail down to the boardwalk when another biker asked if my bike locked to the flagpole was mine. When I said that it was mine he said that he had heard air coming out of one of my tires and sure enough the back tire was flat(again). I told him that I had just gotten all the tools to fix it and could put all my new tire fixing knowledge to good use. He said something like, “that was a good way of looking at it.” I continued my birding but the flat tire dampened my enthusiasm and I didn’t know how long I could bird, fix the tire, and get to the board meeting. Finding the chickadee was a shot in the dark anyway. I went back to my bike and found a nice sunny place and started to work on the tire. Rotate chain to smallest gear, release the cable noodle for the brakes, open quick release skewer on wheel, pull off wheel, use tire lever to remove tire, take out tube (note that puncture hole in old tube was in the same place as last flat on the inside near valve), check inside of tire for anything loose that could cause a flat, partly blow up new tube, put tire half way on, insert tube, use tire lever to put tire all the way on, inflate, put back on bike, tighten quick release skewer, reconnect brakes and check to see if wheel rolled properly. I DID IT! Biked to the MTA office in Fort Bragg and found that I was a half hour early for the meeting. The bus drivers had told me the wrong time.
While biking to the meeting along the Haul Rd. I noticed many butterflies about. Thinking it was late for them I took some pictures.
I’ll have more to said about them in the next post.
While waiting for the meeting Rick, one of the bus drivers, showed up. He’s an avid bike rider so I was telling him about my experience with the flat. He looked at the wheel and said that I had put it on backwards. The tire tread was going the wrong way. I guess I only get a B+ for fixing the tire. He said that nothing serious would happen with it that way.
The actual board meeting happens in two place at once. One group is over in Ukiah and my group was in Fort Bragg. They use a Skype-like hookup so we could all see and hear each other. I knew one of the board members already. Her name is Meg Courtney. She represents Fort Bragg being a member of the Fort Bragg City Council. I know her from meeting her at the Little River Zen Center. She travels with her dog Annie who sat next to her in one of the chairs. I guess anyone from the public is rare. They only show up when fares increase. I got to speak first. I told them briefly what I was using the MTA for (a green bird year). I told them that I appreciated the bus drivers for being helpful during the year, I asked about using 3 bike, bike racks on the Fort Bragg buses and was told that they were currently illegal but that legislation was in the works to make them legal. I said that there was nothing in their printed schedules or on their website to explain where Ukiah buses can and cannot haul bikes and was told that it used to be in both places but schedules had been reprinted and the website had been revamped but to look for a change soon. I told them that I wanted to take day trips down to the Point Arena area and was told that that was an “Unmet Transit Need” that had been noted already and that they would make sure my comments were in the record. Dan Baxter, MTA General Manager, then asked that I tell the board about my blog. Jeff, the North Coast Supervisor, has been forwarding my posts on the “Psychology of Bus Riding” over to him in Ukiah. I think they got a kick out of my posts especially the one on how not to sit next to the weirdo. There was even mention of how they were working on a new Facebook Page and Twitter Account and maybe they could link to my blog.
Jeff thanked me for attending and arranged for me to catch the “Coaster” back so I wouldn’t have to transfer at the Boatyard. I think the meeting went well from my point of view.
With the nagging thought that my puncture in my tire tube was in the same spot I stopped at, “Catch a Canoe & Bicycles Too”, and told Jason that I had bad news and good news. The bad being a flat tire with the tube punctured in the same area and a tire on backwards and the good being that I got the bike back on the road. He took the tire apart. The rim tape which protected the tube from the spokes was like a big rubber band that could move. He replaced it with real tape and put the tire on correctly. I left with only a $4 charge for a tube patch kit.