Friday, 29 February 2008

The story of a bike, part III

On Thursday 21 February, I had the morning off and used this time to register at Skatteverket and to look for my bike. Clumsily, I went to Migrationsverket instead and gave up when a few dozen of African and Asian asylum seekers were waiting for the office to open. Apparently, a plane had just arrived.

The evening before, I had looked up on the internet where the Kiruna office of DHL was. I went there together with another Spacemaster student. I showed them the receipt I had received when I sent the parcel. The woman working at the DHL office made a number of phonecalls to the office in Luleå, but nobody knew anything about my packet. Just that it had left Germany 6 days before. The packet was probably transferred to the Swedish post in Luleå, but she could not tell us the Swedish tracking number that it should have received. At the Swedish post, they didn't know either. They would know if it had been returned, so it had most probably not. It was still... somewhere. They told me to come back on Friday afternoon to look further. Worryingly, I went to the lab in the afternoon.

On Friday morning, I had a note in my mailbox that my packet had arrived and that I could get it at the Posten (post office). When I came home in the evening (like on many days, my classes were from 8.30 to 17.25, with the bus going back home at 18.15), I was told that my packet had arrived. The Spacemaster student whom which I had been at the post office the day before had been there again with someone who had a car, and they had given my packet to him. I found it in the corridor. It was slightly damaged, but I was very very happy that it had finally arrived - after 9 days.

On Sunday, I started to assemble my bike.

I assembled everything except the wheels, because I had not received my spikes yet. My spikes (dubbdäck) had arrived at the post office, but I didn't know because I had incorrectly assumed they would put a note in my box that it had, and then it got returned to Karlstad. Fortunately, Cyclecomponents was customer-friendly and reshipped it without charging me for it. On Monday, I got a note in my mailbox telling me that they had tried to deliver my tires, but had not found me at home. I went to the post service point assuming I could get my tires there, but I had not read the notification properly: the earliest date to get it was Tuesday at 16:00. So on Tuesday I went there again and got my spikes. Finally. They looked wonderful. I put them on my wheels, inflated the tubes, inflated the rear one but failed to inflate the front one, and started putting the wheels in my bike only to find out that the metal on the rear wheel had bent so that my wheel didn't fit in anymore. Shit.

On Tuesday evening, after having met up with a Dutch friend from last years Winter Course, the organiser of this Winter Course, the two other participants on the Winter Course and a friend of the Dutch friend, I ran into an Italian Spacemaster colleague who promised to help me with my bike after I explained to him the problem. We looked at the faint aurora together, came home at 01:00, after which I worked on a report until 03:00, and after I missed the next mornings 7:54 bus and skipped the mornings classes, he came in the afternoon, bent back the metal with a wrench and we finished the assembly of my bike. Wonderful. He also creatively helped me to fix my light.

But we were unable to inflate the front tube with my tiny hand-pump. And I had put in the front mudguard the wrong way around.

I phoned Intersport to ask them if they sell bicycle pumps.
"Yes, we do. Not in store, but in stock we do. There are not so many bicycle customers today"
"I understand"
I went there and bought a pump. As it was dirty, I got it for 100 SEK, normal price being around 220 SEK. The air came out of the valve when I pumped it up, so I returned to buy a new valve. I put it in and was still unable. I decided to look at the problem at home, to find that the valve stem was completely loose from the tire after the stuff that supposedly closes small holes that I put in had come out violently when I had opened the valve. I would need a new tube.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided to go to Team Sportia. At first I decided to skip the last hour so that I could take the 16:40 bus back to town rather than the 18:15 bus, but the class collectively decided to skip the breaks so that we could take the 16:40 bus without missing anything. I asked the bus driver what the nearest bus stop to Team Sportia was. After a few seconds of thinking, she said: "Far away."
After starting driving, she discussed in Swedish with a regular passenger, and I found that she was actually changing her route to go via Team Sportia. Excellent. I departed the bus. "Tack så väldigt mycket!"

Team Sportia did not have any tubes. Nor did they have sandals, that I needed after my cheap fake-Teva-sandals were worn out after 2 1/2 years. Worthless. It was 17:00 and I rushed toward Intersport, which I thought would close at 17:30. I ran, more than 3km, went the wrong way after not having brought my map, and arrived at 17:29 to see that it was actually closing at 18:00. I asked for a bicycle tube and got one for 45 SEK. I went home, reversed the mudguard and put on my tube and tire. Inflated it without problems.

My bike was now finished.

I went for a ride. To the other end of town. To the skiing slope. All snow and ice. -14 degrees. Snowing.

I went for another ride. 6km to Tuolluvaara. 7km back via the industrial area. Again surface icy everywhere.

For all I knew, I was cycling on concrete.

My bike was even heavier than before. The rear wheel was too far to the front so I couldn't use my first gear. Combining that I didn't make it up Adolf Hedinsvägen.

But Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires work perfectly!

1 comment:

Norma said...

Good for people to know.