it was a grey day. i didn't think it'd rain so i took my motorcycle to belmont. there was a light mist that coated my windshield. even though i had on a jacket, i still felt a little cold. as soon as i got there, i went into the backyard to a weekly garden survey:

the grey cold weather is actually good for the leafy greens, keeps them from bolting. the beets don't like it though, they've succumbed to some wilting.

unfortunately classic garden vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers prefer hot and sunny weather. the forecast says we're probably not going to get any appreciable amount of sunshine until thursday.

the thing one notices right away before even setting foot in the garden is the strong fragrance of honeysuckle. i have cambridge neighbors who grow honeysuckle but none of them seem to be scented. honeysuckle can be invasive but at the same time once they're established they almost don't need any care, just the occasional pruning.

i occasionally browse craig's list looking for a good deal on a cheap bike. anything that has a classic raleigh style (with north road handlebars, fenders, rear rack) or possibly a road bike that fits my size. i've had my eyes on a posting from waltham, someone was selling an "older girls ten speed" for $30. a working bike usually goes for $100 on the average so this was a good deal. the photo looked pretty decent, but there wasn't much else info. the posting had been active for a few days, which surprised me because usually cheap bikes in pretty good condition are quickly snatched up. i figured maybe since it was all the way out in waltham (next to belmont), nobody wanted the trouble of going out that far.

i decided to give the seller a call. he asked if i was asking for the mountain bike. "no, the girl's 10-speed," i informed him. he told me he already sold it. ah, i should've called sooner! a minute later my phone rang; the seller was calling me back, said he made a mistake, that the 10-speed was still available. i told him i could be at his place in 20 minutes.

i took the honda element. there was no gas in the tank and i was afraid i'd be stranded on the side of the road before i could fuel up. aided by the GPS, i tried out a shortcut getting into waltham (the GPS kept redirecting me to main street, which i try to avoid). when i finally arrived i realized i'd been here before, that time we can to waltham for thai dinner was on this street.

an old man greeted me at the house and showed me the bike in the driveway. i knew it was a ross bike, from our phone conversation. i also knew it was missing the saddle, but i told him that wasn't a deal breaker for me. i figured i could use it as a bargaining chip to lower the price. "i don't know what happened, but i can't inflate the rear tire," he said, reassuring me that the bike runs fine otherwise since he rode it just yesterday. there was also a lot of rust on the bike. i think they call it "cosmetic rust," nothing that would cause the bike to break apart. "the back brake doesn't work either, but you probably just need to jiggle it," he added. the more i looked, the less worthwhile it seemed. in its current state, it seemed like something somebody would throw out instead of trying to sell. if you asked me honestly, i'd pay no more than $10. maybe i was in a giving mood after having driven all the way to waltham, but i told him, "give the condition of the bike, would you settle for $25?" he took the deal, i carefully wheeled the bike into the back of the car.

a few minutes later while i was getting gas, the seller called me back. "would you be interested in another bike? a motobecane? 21in." i was intrigued, but was also beginning to sour from our last deal, so i told him no.

when i got back i got a chance to more closely examine the bike. it was a old school 10-speed, meaning the gears shifted from levers located near the handlebar stem. i noticed one of gear shift cable had snapped. also missing was the rear tail reflector, and the spoke reflector for the front wheel. the back tire was beyond saving. it was cracked throughout, severe enough to expose the nylon threading underneath. the inner tube would most definitely need to be replaced as well.

i figured i'd have to at least spend $30 just to get the bike to run: replace the rear inner tube ($10), replace the rear tire ($10), replace the brake and shift cables ($10). missing reflectors aren't too important when i have spare bike lights (front and back), and i also have an extra bike saddle i can install.

the rust isn't that bad, at least not on the chrome surfaces. those i can easily clean off with some WD-40 and steel wool. the rust on the body i probably can't do anything about. i don't want to polish it with steel wool because it'd scratch off the paint. i did think about stripping the bike entirely and repainting the body with spray paint, but that would cover up all the branding elements.

tthis is a unique bike in that the freewheel element is not on the rear cassette but rather in the front crank instead. i'm not even sure how such a bike would work, but i'm curious to try it out once i can fix the wheel and put on a new saddle.

the ross compact 10-speed has a small frame. i was planning on fixing it up and giving it to either my mother or sister to ride. i still haven't managed to convert my parents or sister to the cycling lifestyle, but summertime is the best time to do it (it's hard to convince my family to ride in the dead of winter). i feel like my mother is a good candidate because she's always talking about exercising more, but the thought of riding a bike to and from work scares her because she doesn't want to hit by cars. also i don't think i've ever seen my mother on a bike before, so she might be out of practice. hills can be a little tricky.

i can home to an empty house after dinner, excited to watch game 6 of the NBA finals. the dallas mavericks had one of their best offensive sequences of the whole series, but i also wasn't surprised when the heat made a run of their own to capture the lead. dallas didn't panic however, and slowly gained on miami to regain the lead again. midway in the 4th quarter, with the mavericks leading the heat, that's when i began to sense it, that dallas could potentially win this game, and was on the verge of being the new NBA champions. not only was miami not shooting well, but they were also making costly turnovers. had they had another quarter maybe they could stage another comeback, but time wasn't on their side and finally the clock ran out. i'm not even sure if dirk nowitzki waited for the game to be officially over before bolting into the locker room, apparently overcome with emotions and didn't want the embarrassment of being caught on camera crying. it was an awesome series, and a decisive victory, on enemy court no less.