We’ve entered our third straight week here in Madison without any sort of significant rainfall. The lawns that aren’t watered are brown; corn is drying up in non-irrigated fields; there are few mosquitoes out and about and those that do fly are generally eaten by bats.

There is a reasonable chance that we’ll get some rain tonight and just about everyone is pulling for it. The biggest upside to this sort of dryness is that the lawn goes dormant and I don’t have to water it. We water our gardens and when it gets dry like this, we’ll also water some of our trees. However, we do not water the lawn. All that does is drive up our water bills and create work in the form of mowing. If the lawn wants to go dormant for a time and give me a month or so off from mowing, I’m more than happy to let it. Even though we’ve still got some painting to do on the house, we’ve slowed down noticeably in the last week. When it gets hot and humid I lose the drive to do much of anything outdoors and Sarah has been busy trying to get the final draft of her thesis done.

Instead of painting I’ve been working on my bicycles. I’ve been fixing one up for my sister and in another day or so it should be ready. I had to repack the bearings in the rear hub and that has been a slow process. At some point in the past, it looks like someone dripped either motor oil or some sort of penetrating oil into the rear hub. Whatever it was, it turned the grease around the rear axle and bearings into something more like cement. So, I’ve got the parts soaking in a citrus degreaser and once they’re clean I can pack the whole mess together with some high-quality bicycle grease, adjust the bearing cups, re-attach the freewheel, and put the wheel back on the bike. Sarah’s mountain bike needed a new chain, so I replaced that last week and once I finish with this bike for Amy I’m going to start on another bike for myself.

I picked up a bike at the police auction last fall that clearly needs a great deal of attention. It’s an older Fuji road bike; I don’t know the year. It proudly proclaims to have twelve speeds so I’m guessing it’s probably twenty years old at least. The drive train is pretty rusty, the grips are nasty, the wheels are those deadly chrome rims that aren’t used any more, and the cables need to be replaced. Obviously, the seat, brake pads, and tires will have to go, as well. Once I get all the garbage stripped off the frame, I can wash and degrease it and assess the state of other parts, like the bottom bracket and headset.

I’ve been accumulating new and used parts for this bike for a while now because I wanted to fix it up without spending a fortune doing so. I picked up a decent set of wheels off of craigslist that I’m going to use on this bike. A new set of brake pads came cheap from a sale last weekend. I bought a new saddle earlier this year, and a couple of new tires on sale from an on-line shop. I’d like to replace the single side-pull brake calipers with something different, but the frame isn’t built to accept them. Oh well.

Our 50-mile ride last weekend went very well. The weather was kind to us this year and instead of being nearly ninety degrees, the temperature was just south of eighty. That made a huge difference in the ride and our recovery from it. In addition, we rode more often and for shorter distances at faster paces in the run-up to this year’s ride. That seemed to make a difference as we both were relatively spry in the afternoon and evening. Neither one of us had any real lingering soreness this year which was a nice change from last year. Thanks again to everyone who sponsored our rides.