Paris Goodnight: Looking for a smooth ride after changing gears

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sometimes switching gears is easy, and you can just keep pedaling smoothly as you head up a hill, or even a mountain as I used to do when I biked around the part of western Virginia where we lived before moving back a little closer to home here.

But occasionally that changing of gears doesn’t go off without a hitch, as I discovered not long ago while I sought to put a few miles on the old two wheels that had been gathering a little too much dust in the garage. Unfortunately, as I got to the bottom of a nice long stretch just outside the friendly confines of my own neighborhood, I pulled the gear shifter and noticed a snap. That was the end of my gear cable, and since I was in a high gear coming down the “mountain” — as I’ll call that slight incline we have around here — it was no simple task of turning around and pedaling back up it in the hardest gear on the bike.

If you’re not one who ventures out on two wheels but enjoys the air conditioned comfort of an automobile like more sensible folks, you might not easily grasp the pain of such a thing. But let me just say, by the time I’d made it back on the relatively short trip home, I was wiped out, and wasn’t going another inch, much less a mile.

I also faced what we used to call an interesting technical dilemma back when we’d change paginating systems or computers we use for putting the newspaper together.  We’ve gone through plenty of technological switches over the years as the machines get a little better and faster.

Things didn’t always work out just exactly as planned and there were always little hiccups that cropped up along the way and had to be addressed to get the operation rolling again. That made things interesting for the folks who were tasked with fixing those issues to make sure everything could be completed and delivered on time.

If you’ve kept up with the news, you know we’re changing to mail delivery of the Post this coming week. That’s a different way of getting the news to you from how it has been, just as when we switched from being an afternoon paper to an edition delivered in the mornings. Somewhere even before that time, you no longer could see youngsters out carrying papers on their assigned routes like I did as a teenage bike rider looking to make some extra cash by delivering papers with a pouch strapped over my shoulder.

If any of those interesting technical dilemmas surface this time, I’m sure they will be addressed just as we always have and as a friendly neighbor of mine did when he saw me limping the bike back into the neighborhood on that fateful day. He said he knew just what I needed when I explained what had happened, went in his garage and pulled out several gear cables and had me back up and running in no time flat. He also fixed an inner tube that was bad and actually got the bike in much better shape than it was when I headed out on the road in the first place.

Since then, I’ve noticed the gears change a lot smoother and if I was just a little younger and stronger, I’d probably be able to put a few more regular miles on that bike, particularly now that spring has sprung early and we’ve got decent enough weather to be outside doing such things.

I may be switching gears of my own a little more this spring if I decide to try raising baby chicks instead of biking or playing in the dirt during my free daylight hours

I’ll have to muster up enough courage to actually buy the little biddies, as I’ve heard some older folks call them, and try my hand at raising such critters in the backyard. I’ve been sitting on all the supplies needed for that hobby since my youngest son provided them as a prompt a while ago. Now I just have to do it. But maybe I’ll do a little more biking and think about it just to be sure before I jump in.

And I’ll have to see if I can figure out what more normal people do on a Saturday night now that our work schedules are shifting also. Sometimes switching gears makes the pedaling a whole lot easier.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Post.