Just Basil. waiting for the train, and another adventure.
Stone arches; how I love them.
There are three transportation modes hidden in these pictures: the bicycle/pedestrian trail on which Basil and I are standing; the river, upon which scullers and other passengers travel; and that dreaded horror, The Schuylkill, which is a highway.
If you look very closely, you can see the green directional sign in the open arch, hanging over the highway.
I stay with family I’m rather fond of, when in New York City. Better yet, said family comes with excellent cats.
Basil doesn’t seem to mind the cats a bit. This is part of the re-acquaintance process (for the felines, at least) when Basil and I return. Once the formalities are concluded, it’s visiting as usual.
I took Basil into NYCeWheels via the subway and a cross-town bus. He fits very nicely on the M79, thanks to a cut in the seat row, mid-bus.
Here he is, turned around. You can see a little better, here, how he just fits up next to the back of the conventional seat in front.
I got to the shop just as Peter was arriving, and he kindly let me in and took Basil’s information. I mentioned my surprise at having gotten a flat on such a new Marathon, and suggested that I’d like to replace it with a Marathon Plus, in the rear only. Peter said that if it was defective, they’d certainly replace it at no charge, but that the shop doesn’t carry the Marathon Plus tire, since they’ve had such good luck with the Marathons. Peter warned me, too, that Basil wouldn’t leave with the beautiful metal valve stems he had arrived with; they don’t stock those, either.
I had anticipated losing the delightful transparent cap, and had already removed it. I admit that it was a bit of a blow to realize that Basil’s rear tire would, henceforth, have a black rubber valve stem, and a more conventional cap. I’ll save the original in case there’s an opportunity in the future to spend unnecessary dollars on a metal valve stemmed tube.
When I returned to pick up Basil, Alex informed me that they had pulled a nail out of the side of the tire. That was a shock . . . but I guess I can’t exactly complain about a Marathon failing to stand up to a nail. I’d apparently missed it when crossing a wooden bridge with gaps between the boards. In truth, it probably never occurred to me to watch for a hazard other than those gaps..
There had been a small manufacturing defect on the side of the tire — unrelated to the flat — and NYCeWheels were kind enough to replace it under warranty, which I appreciated. I bought an extra tube, though, since obviously flats can, and will, happen. Basil was returned to me in perfect shape to begin the next phase of our riding history.
while in New York, I’m afraid, not actually on Basil. For the first time in a long time, I ran about the city checking out the holiday lights. All the stuff tourists check out, rather than New Yorkers. First, the tree in Rockefeller Plaza, which I think I hadn’t seen since I was a small child.
It was big. And bright. But not precisely decorated. Nonetheless, it was a cheery sight.
The plaza was lined with trumpeting angels.
A very small tree nearby, in the window of the Metropolitan Museum shop, was artfully contrived, with all the requisite frou-frou.
Blue lights and metallic flags ringed the area. For a minute, I thought I was at the UN Plaza. (Well, not really. But all those flags did create the association.)
I’m a sucker for white decorative lights. Why is that, do you suppose? Perhaps because they are star-like?
I was in the city during Chanukkah, and saw many chanukkiahot, but didn’t feel comfortable photographing them. Christmas in the USA is an almost exclusively secular affair, but a single, lit, chanukkia is still very much a religious symbol. I enjoyed the candle lights (even the electric ones), but was not inspired to capture their images.
My wounded Basil and I hopped a train to New York City to take care of his flat tire and his 300-mile-or-so, 90-day-or-so, check-up. We took off on a lovely foggy day.
I’d actually had Basil for only 60 days, but, as the mileage was on target, this worked out well. As usual, on an Amtrak train, Basil and his T Bag tucked in nicely at the front of the car, with me close by.
I love fog and mist, so this was an especially fun ride for me.
A SEPTA train passed us on the way. The destination LEDs flipped between the actual destination and “Happy Holidays”, which I tried, but failed, to capture.
The city was truly “socked-in”.
I don’t think I’ve ever come into the city when visibility was so poor. Fog is s little less romantic on this scale, but, even here, I still enjoy its fuzzy wool-ness.
This bucolic scene was the start of what was meant as a long, satisfying ride:
Fewer than three miles later, I rode over a wooden bridge, and apparently missed something crucial. Barely off the bridge, I felt a “thump, thump” that I remembered from flat tires when I was a child. Close inspection revealed a totally air-less tire, and Basil’s valve stem at a crazy angle:
It was the rear tire. Oh, drat. I’d have fixed a front tire on my own, but the rear? Basil had barely 300 miles on him, and a 6-speed BWR gear hub. No way was I going to tackle that fix on my own.
We waited for rescue by Mr. Diarist:
I couldn’t see any reason why my super Marathon tire should have deflated. I felt a bit deflated myself. As soon as we got home, I made arrangements for Basil’s 90-day check-up, and made plans to take him back to the dealer for that, and the repair.
SEPTA, the beleaguered southeastern Pennsylvania rail system, has put some new cars — Silverliner V is the name — into service on some regional rail lines. There’s more leg room than in the older cars, which means that there’s room for me, and Basil, in the space of my seat alone:
As I have short, small, legs, your mileage may vary.
Cars are generally in good shape on the line I ride most often, which is far from the city. The new cars offer some improvements, though, specifically the automated station announcements, and the LED screens which show which station the train is next. (Oddly, though, when the train is slowing, and in each station, the only thing the LED screen shows is the mightily unhelpful “SEPTA”. That would be easy and cheap to remedy; the wonder is that anyone thought it was a good idea in the first place.) SEPTA conductors, while often pleasant, are not known for their clarity of speech, or willingness to announce each station audibly.
There’s plenty of room for compact Basil, even in the standard seating areas. There’s a different configuration on the Silverliner V, one I saw on a previous trip, with seating along the side of the car, rather than perpendicular to it. That’s an even better place for a folding bicycle, especially if the train is full. I don’t know if that’s on all Silverliner Vs — I may have missed that section of the car on this particular trip.
There’s been much speculation that the new cars will draw new riders. I don’t know about that, but I wish SEPTA would reverse a change made a while ago, when they stopped using route numbers for the various train lines. Now, new users can’t simply be told “take the R4 — (for Regional Rail, route 4) — but they must know the terminal points of whatever line they need, no matter how irrelevant to their own trip. That was a move of supreme idiocy, and likely to make using the line much more difficult for both tourists, and inexperienced SEPTA riders alike.
The new cars, though, look like an improvement, for reals.