Something that I enjoyed very much in 2015 and 2016, was going to the City of Dickinson Public Auction that is held each summer at the public works building on Broadway Street. In 2015 I bought two bicycles for $25 each, and in 2016 I bought three bicycles for $25 each at the auction.
At the auction, the bicycles are parked in groups of eight. It takes the auctioneers a couple of hours to get to the bicycles, so you have time to look at all the bicycles. I make a diagram, and I note which bicycles that I am interested in, and how much I am willing to pay. Luckily, the initial high bidder on each bicycle group, would go pick out a bicycle that I didn’t want. Then, for the second choice of a bicycle in a group, the bidding only went up to $25 to $30, and I was able to pick out the bicycle that I wanted.
The reason why the bidding didn’t go very high on the bicycles, was because they usually all had flat tires, chains off, messed up brake cables, messed up shifting cables, messed up handle bars and seats. These were stolen or abandoned bicycles that no one claimed or came looking for at the police department.
Every bicycle that I bought at the auction, looked worse than it was. They usually didn’t require any parts, just putting everything back where it belonged, making adjustments, and straightening things out. In 2015, I gave one bicycle away because it was a little too small for me. In 2016, I gave one bicycle away because I had too many bicycles.
The last bicycle that I had to fix, I didn’t even want to work on it, it looked so messed up. I was thinking about giving it away, or throwing it away. It sat outside in the yard for about eight months. When it warmed up a couple of weeks ago, I started working on this last bike, and it only took me a couple of hours to get everything completely fixed on this bike. This turned out to be the best bicycle of the five that I had bought. It was the most comfortable to ride.
I had to wait about another week before the weather was good enough to ride this last and best bicycle to the grocery 4-1/2 miles away. I live out in a rural area where there are not that many houses. For the first two miles, there are no houses. I like to ride on the wrong side of the road, facing any oncoming vehicles that would happen to get on the rural road. If I rode my bicycle on the correct side of the road, and moved over onto the road shoulder when I heard a vehicle coming up behind me, I still might get run over like a pheasant or coyote by a vehicle going 55 mph and not paying attention.
It was mostly slow and tiring peddling uphill for the first two miles. Then, when I got to the top and started to go downhill, I didn’t want to coast downhill going 35 mph on this bicycle that I had never ridden before. When I got into town, I wanted to avoid the roads that the Dickinson police drive on. I was tired from peddling, I could only peddle about 5 to 10 mph, and I didn’t want to ride on the right side of the road because I was worried about getting hit by a vehicle from behind, I was going so slow. I cut through a large new residential area.
When I was riding through this large new residential area, it was a Sunday afternoon, and the homeowners did not like the looks of me. Recreational exercise is not something most of the people in Dickinson are familiar with. In Dickinson, somebody riding a bicycle, is a shady character who has lost their drivers’ license, doesn’t own a vehicle, and couldn’t get anyone to give them a ride. From the glares and stares of the homeowners, looking at me like I was a vagrant, I was worried that they were going to come after me to threaten me out of their neighborhood, or call the police on me. The Dickinson police sure would have been willing to drive up on me and jack me up like I was a vagrant.
I began to not enjoy my bike ride at all. In Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho where I had previously lived, recreational walking and bicycling is a normal everyday activity. In Dickinson, if you are riding a bicycle, you must have something wrong with you apparently. I would have liked to have made it out of this residential area as soon as possible, but I could only go so fast because I was tired from the first two miles being all uphill.
I made it the 4-1/2 miles to the grocery store. I locked my bike to the bike rack, and I went inside with my small backpack on my back. I was worried that the grocery store employees were going to tell me that I couldn’t come inside the store with my backpack on, because of a concern about shoplifting. I did all of my shopping and paid for my groceries without any store employee objecting to my backpack. I believe that they must have seen people before who rode their bicycle to the store.
When I was riding home from the grocery store, I cut across a downtown parking lot, and I came out of the parking lot at the middle of the block, onto the sidewalk. I rode on the sidewalk to get to the nearest cross street, to take that street north. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dreaded Dickinson police Chevy Tahoe coming. Oh no, I thought, they are going to try to get me for something, riding on the sidewalk, riding against traffic, crossing the street at the middle of the block, and all because I am on a bicycle with a backpack on, with something in the backpack. I have got to be up to something, I probably have drugs or must have just stolen something. This is how I nearly got caught by the Dickinson police with three pounds of chicken.