Thursday, January 15, 2009

1/11/2009 - A Bicycle Built for Two

I have mentioned that I am getting stir crazy. The distributors who are supposed to be looking at my derailleur and frame are dragging their feet, resulting in waiting. It is Sunday today, I will be calling the bike shop tomorrow to propose that they just use the frame they got in, and I will pay for it out-of-pocket with a refund being applied if and when the distributor gets around to letting us know.

Meanwhile, I need ways to fill my days. As it turns out, a couple came in last night riding a tandem bike, also bike touring. I met them in the lounge, and we started trading stories. They have bicycled South America from north to south, with a brief train trip over an area that was more dangerous. Very cool! Their names are Erik and Kris (check out their website at

As it turns out, Erik was one of the engineers on the new Macbook Pro 15.4 inch laptop - the very one that I own. Instant nerd bond. He left his job there at Apple (where he did product testing, essentially figuring out ways to keep them from breaking) just about 3 months before the release of the computer, so he never got to see the finished product. He tells me a bit about the design process and discovers how they found ways to solve some of the nagging problems when they were developing this computer. Very cool!

He also introduces me to, a site devoted to cyclists helping other touring cyclists by offering a place to sleep for the night for free. It's good! They have used this quite a bit, and have cut down on money spent on lodging.

Before long, we decide to head out to look into Internet for them and maybe catch a movie. The mall is just about a mile away, so we walk. Wandering around downtown Manakau City was akin to a dusty ghost town - it's Sunday and a lot of the shops are closed. It's not all wasted, though, as we end up at a McDonalds with superintelligent sparrows. There were a reasonable number of them in the restaurant itself, picking up leftover crumbs. How were they getting in? By flying right next to the automatic door opener, then flying in when it opened. Very cool to watch.


Just missed the sparrow in this picture, but rest assured that he did actually open this door without help. Just a little Hitchcockian.

We end up going to the movies - after immediately turning down one of the movies as soon as Kris mentioned that it had "a princess" in it, we went with her suggestion of Madagascar 2. It actually had some pretty good laughs, and the seats are really comfortable. Might come back here another time if I am still waiting for word on the bike.

We end up eating dinner together. Both Kris and Erik are vegetarians, but totally turned me on to vegetarian Indian food. Easy to make (just add the rice) and REALLY good. Sold.

Relax for a bit, do some Internetting, and then off to bed. Sorry for the lack of pictures, for some reason I took NONE of Kris and Erik. My bad, check out their web site (again, if you want to know what they look like. Erik is 6'9", Kris is 5' even. Their tandem bike is custom.

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