New Wheels!

When I first arrived in Thailand, my friend Mot offered to lend me an old bicycle she wasn’t using. I eagerly took her up on her offer when I realized that I would have to walk about 1/2 an hour to work every day! I loved having the bike, and I even rode it for fun a few times. But the bicycle had some issues. The first problem was that the gears didn’t work at all. It seemed that the bike was either way too easy to pedal or way too hard. Finally, I put the chains on the gears I wanted them on and resolved not to touch the gears ever again. This worked fine for a few weeks. Then the pedals got loose. I tolerated it for a few days, and then went to a motorcycle shop and asked them to tighten the pedals. The mechanic tightened up the pedals, and the bike worked beautifully again. (I have to add that he refused to be paid for this service. It’s a good example of the kindness of Thai people). After the pedals were tightened, the whole bicycle seemed to work better. But then I touched a gear and ruined everything. For several days I was pedalling really fast and going nowhere. Now, that seems like an easy problem to fix, but it wasn’t. The chains were already on the largest gears, and the gears were turning while I pedalled. One day, the gears suddenly went back to normal. But the next day I tried to add some air to one of the tires and it went completely flat. I know I could probably have fixed all of these problems, but I decided to buy a new bike instead. So, after walking to work every day for a week, I finally bought my new bike today!! One of my students, Job, took me to a bike shop. She translated for me and did some haggling (she’s great at that!). I ended up with a new bike that I really like! It’s not exactly top of the line, but it’s comfortable, I can easily ride it in a skirt, and it has a basket. Thanks to Job’s haggling, I also got a free bike lock and flashing light for the back of the bike. It also has a second seat on it for passengers, so Job rode on the back of the bike on the way back to the education building.

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