Sunday, September 28, 2014

Two Wheel Freedom With Four Paws

Today we were creeping uphill and flying downhill. Gotta love that wind blown fur-do!

My Harley dog is a funny sort. He looks goofy and he acts silly. He is also very determined when he wants something. When I first brought home the bicycle and basket in my friend's car in January 2013, he was a bit confused about this latest contraption.

I set his basket on the ground for him to sniff over. Then I put him in it. He didn't like the rough bottom, so I padded it with a little blanket (a new fluffy car wash towel). He sat in it for a moment, then climbed out a bit bewildered.

Next I put the basket on the handlebars and rode around the camp site where he could see me. He was straining and jumping at the end of his tether, watching me go round and round.

I came back and parked the bicycle next to the picnic table. I think I was getting water or something when I heard this strange commotion followed by a thud. I turned around to see that my little monkey had climbed up on the picnic table, then took a flying leap to land in the basket on the handlebars, trailing his tether. He looked rather smitten with himself.

Through some miracle, the bicycle didn't fall over from his antics. When I stopped laughing, I got back on the bicycle and took him for a ride.

The rest is history. He loves his new ride!

I haven't ridden all summer. Last spring when I arrived at workamping, the first time we rode around the neighborhood, I couldn't make it up a steep hill and got off the bike to push it up the hill with Harley still in the basket. I was very weak and out of breath, so I wasn't moving very fast. (Later I realized the front tire was nearly flat.) Suddenly we were attacked by a large dog with no collar and I was flailing around trying to protect myself and Harley while screaming for help. Ever tried screaming when you're out of breath?

The dog continued to circle around us snarling and snapping his jaw repeatedly like he was about to make lunch out of my thighs.

The cantankerous (possibly drunk) dog owner eventually showed up to yell at me for being on a bicycle in "his" neighborhood. He said "No one rides a bike, you don't belong here!" He had a hard time gaining control of his collar-less dog.

I found the whole scene a bit creepy and scary.

A few days later we rode the bicycle, trying to gain some confidence back. Someone in a pickup truck ran us off the road and into a gnarly overgrown ditch. Same man or sheer coincidence that he looked the same as the loose dog owner? That frightened me badly and little Harley was not amused.

The place where I workamped didn't have a campground, just boat ramps and a picnic area. It was at the bottom of a hill. People coming into the park were often speeding at 40-50 miles an hour in spite of the 15 mile per hour posted speed limit.

I decided between the big loose dogs and the wild drivers that perhaps the neighborhood wasn't safe for me and my bicycle. A few times I rode it around the dirt driveway and down to the parking lot, but it seemed fast moving trucks towing boats were narrowly missing my elbow or totally oblivious to my presence.

I decided to wait on the bike riding until I was through with that neighborhood.

Once we left workamping in early September, our first stop at Devil's Fork State Park had very steep hills and I was feeling too weak to ride. It rained most days. At Camp Croft, conditions seemed ideal except it rained every day, so no bike riding there either. At Lake Greenwood, the first week I couldn't get the bike off the back of the RV and it was raining most days anyhow. Then we had to move to a different site, where it was much easier to unload the bicycle and it stopped raining.

Whee! Now I get to torture myself on the bike again!

 The view from my handlebars. The creature feature now has a little padded pillow in the bottom of his basket. I recycled it from an old chair. 

The view from the water. That's my little old motorhome in the center. (Bet you didn't think I could ride on water too but I call that Mermaid Magic!)

 Harley doesn't want to get out of his basket. Note the sad face now that the bicycle ride is over.

Bicycle evolution...

Harley fills up the entire front basket, so here is my bicycle with garbage dangling off the handlebars and a cheap file basket strapped to the rear to hold water and stuff. 

Eventually I replaced the file basket with an old milk crate.

All things take time...

Finally I saved up enough money to buy panniers for the rear of the bike. However the panniers didn't fit quite right. I was so sad, they were beautiful yet I couldn't use them. Before I could return them for refund, a handy friend came to visit. He took my hack saw and file to make some notches in the skinny rear rack so the baskets would slide on and off and fit nicely.

Now my garbage, Harley's toys, his leash, my camera, our water and other personal junk can travel in retro style.
We don't set any speed records with this load, but Harley and I love our new found freedom to go exploring around the parks. We can park and hike. The baskets help us deliver the garbage to the dumpster, as well as hold our water, Harley's toys, my camera, the bike cable lock and whatever else we feel like taking along for the ride.

Life is goof!

Earth's Biggest Selection!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful eco-mobile you two have! Those panniers lower your center of gravity nicely, and really look made for the ride. Now you just need a little license plate that says "Harley" on the front basket.


Life is goof!