The Great Adventure

Building with My Dad

Building is a rush. This idea you had in your head. Not a picture—if only. A concept, who knows what it’ll look like. And then there it is, in your hands, and you meet it for the first time.

I first felt this with Ben, the inventor. We had no idea how I would haul my gear. We put the bike in his truck and headed for the starting point of the Adventure. Somewhere, we stopped and bought two shitty totes. Zip ties, a knife, a lighter, and our brains built the rest.

Those totes lasted me over 200 miles. I still have one, and I rebuilt it.

I hate going to the big home improvement stores. Everything has a purpose and I can never find it. Except if I go not knowing what I want. That’s effing Christmas.

“What are you going to use this for?” The salesman has options A and B in his head.

“We’re trying to build something…” Dad explains it. He’s too mechanical. I explain, I’m too logical. That salesman looks away awkwardly. Two others, fascinated, crowd in.

I don’t know what part we need. But I will know it when I see that sucker on the shelf.

This week, my dad and I built a front rack for the Giant. This thing could re-enter atmosphere. It holds the saddlebags Kira gave me, which are not supposed to fit there.

Dad loves working with his hands. Loves it more than me. It’s something he’d like to pass on. This week was the last time. No more will I crouch in his garage.

But 1,148 miles from now? I’ll still have that rack.

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5 thoughts on “Building with My Dad

  1. That is so cool. I was on a bike trip about 30 years ago in the Loire Valley of France when I took a spill and screwed up I guess the stem, where the handlebars fasten to the bike? So we find this old guy who has a bike repair shop somewhere and he rigs up my PANASONIC bike (yeah, I don’t think he was used to seeing those!) with this beautiful, incongruous brass bolt right there in the stem. I loved that thing… the guy, France… I was so proud of that damned bolt :-) Your Dad rocks. Mazel Tov!

    • Oh what a cool experience Susanna. I know that feeling of pride you mean. I can hardly wait to give away my bike in New Orleans or Texas to some other adventurer (and yes I will GIVE it away, passing on the good things that I had passed to me…) and I’ll get to show off this custom rig and how they can put giant rear panniers up front. Of course, maybe they will have an even better idea and do a little mad science of their own.

      Thanks for sharing this Susanna. I’d love to see the Loire Valley.

  2. I have a special place in my heart for bike racks. The rack that I have on my bike belonged to a cyclist famous in my parts for his advocacy and law-abiding-cyclist-ishness. He was struck and killed last December.

    I have a friend who set out to ride from the Lehigh Valley, PA to South Carolina. He got shingles along the way – don’t do that. His bike is ridiculously tricked out. I should get pics to you.

    • Ooh, shingles are horrible. My mom had them once. I may get them someday, as I had chickenpox when I was little. Though it (shingles) usually only strikes when older.

      I’d love to see pictures of the bike if you get the chance!

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