Monday, August 26, 2013

Bertha's Mailbag

Alright boys and girls, it’s that time once again — time to dig through the piles of letters and emails from loyal readers, just like you, who are trying desperately to solve some sort of important cycling dilemma. Or maybe it’s not actually all that important of a dilemma but it just seems that way to them. But regardless and without further ado…

Dear Bertha,
I always get confused when I’m removing the pedals from my bike—I can never remember which pedal turns which way to come off? Can you suggest something that will make it easy to remember?
Orville (not my real name) Smith
Bethany, Oklahoma

My Dear Orville,
This is a fairly easy one to remember. Just think about which way you pedal when you are riding your bike—this would be the same direction that you would want to turn your pedals in order to keep them tight. So, using that same logic, if you turned your pedals the opposite direction then they would loosen up. It’s “Righty Tighty / Lefty Loosey” only on the right side (chain side) of your bike—the “R” pedal side. Over on the “L” pedal side (non-chain side) it’s “Righty UN-Tighty / Lefty some-word-that-rhymes-with-lefty-that-means-to-tighten.” Okay, well maybe that part isn’t all that easy to remember but hopefully you get the idea.

Dear Bertha,
I’ve signed up for my first Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred this year in Wichita Falls, Texas. The ride is in late August and I’m sure that there is a good reason that they’ve picked this name for the ride. Since I’m an HHH virgin, do you have any suggestions about what I should do to prepare for the ride?
Alexander (not my real name) Smith
Plainfield, Indiana

You’re in luck Alexander,
Simply check out the cartoon at the bottom of the post.

Wow! I am really impressed so far. These have been some very good questions from our loyal readers this month. Let’s continue on…

Dear Bertha
I’ve never really cared too much for the taste of scotch but I’ve noticed that when my husband drinks it, I really like kissing him afterwards. There’s something about the slightest hint of scotch on his lips that really drives me crazy. I was just wondering, have you ever heard of anything like this before?
Sally (not my real name) Smith
Moab, Utah

Hmmm! Okay—and we were doing so well there with the first couple of letters. Sally, let’s see about keeping our topics along the lines of cycling related issues.

Dear Bertha,
I've shared your recent article regarding the origins of the Tour de France with several individuals whom I consider to be extremely knowledgeable in the field of bicycle and cycling history. I would like to report that the conclusion unanimously reached by all of these bicycle historians is that  your so-called investigation of the matter raises quite a few questionable concerns regarding accuracy—most notably being that you've somewhat overlooked the fact that the bicycle wasn't even invented until the latter half of the 1800's. Surely you don't expect your readers (loyal and/or otherwise) to swallow anything as preposterous as Joan of Arc racing a bicycle—not to mention a cast of (somewhat suspicious) characters who may or may not have lived at any time during the B.C. era. I think possibly a full retraction of your “facts” is in order.
Julius (not my real name) Smith
Boston (not the real city where I live), Massachusetts

Dear, Dear, Dear Julius,
It's no big secret that technology today is so much more awesome than we would ever have imagined. The internet has opened up a whole new world and uncovered things that many never even knew existed. Countless myths have been busted—volumes of history rewritten. Up until a few months ago, I thought Lance Armstrong had won the Tour de France seven times in a row. But check it out on the internet—it didn't happen! As far as the invention of the bicycle—I recently saw an authentic photograph (black and white photograph, of course) of Mr and Mrs Noah wheeling their bicycles up the ramp onto the ark. This alone completely shatters any notion of the bicycle not being invented until the 19th century. But that’s a whole different article!

I think we’ve got just enough room to squeeze in one last letter for this month:

Dear Bertha
I was wondering if you would be able to tell me if Sally (not her real name) is, in fact, actually my wife. If so, I’m planning on buying a LOT more scotch in the near future!
Bryce (not my real name) Smith
Moab, Utah

Good grief—

Enjoy the ride!

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