We don’t push too hard
Making our way around the 17k loop, endless coffee shops, conical hatted flower sellers, the mist-shrouded lake always on our right
On a clear day, we can see straight across. Today, the mist encompasses all. But, even today,
there is so much to see here
We pause at the ornate, timeless temple. Wooden carved archways invite travelers and monks alike. But today, this month, it is shuttered.
We’re on the lookout for a ride, on this ride, for Rhino. It’s been too long and a teenager needs a bike.
I’ll never buy one new, partly out of concern for the planet, partly for the pocketbook.
We pass a couple tiny bike shops and pop in. My buddy knows a bit about bikes, he spent a few weeks on the lookout before he grabbed his. He knows where to stop.
The first features what appear to be second-hand bikes. Neatly organized, hanging grapes on a vine. A workstation with tools, arrayed in kind. Clean. In retrospect probably too clean.
Do you have used bikes?
He’s not particularly friendly. A curt nod, he motions and grunts, towel in hand, to the back of the store. A light green ten speed catches my eye.
Looks like a good fit
I think, until I see the price and do some mental math.
That can’t be right for a used bike
I look again at the tag, double check my thinking on my phone
and realize I have completely misjudged this shop.
We bid goodbye to curt, it’s not the shop for me.
Nice bikes though
Continue the loop. Endless bends. Today, with its damp breeze and mist on the wind, is perfect for a spin. By my count we pass five more shops. Some fitted for the aspiring peloton, others more my speed.
Like Mr. Hai’s shop.
A modest, tiny opening in the endless wall of brick. Two men idly smoking, a motley collection of used bikes tightly wound in front. The shop is messy, but purposefully so. One of the men has a wire brush and is diligently cleaning a cog and a derailleur.
He knows his stuff, or at the least, cares enough to do his work well.
We wheel our bikes around and step off to inspect.
There are a couple possibilities – a black 5-speed, single cog in front catches my eye.
Now, he’s speaking my language.
I call home, ask J to put Rhino in a cab, send him my way.
And prep him that we’ve found his ride home.