So I’m doing a few projects… For a start the Buell needs a shock, front brake pads, and may as well get some plugs and air cleaner also to get over the threshold for free shipping. Tried the not so local HOG(NYSE) dealer that still at least admits that Buell existed on the shock, he replies that all factory stock is gone but he can get one from another source for  almost $500 all in. Asked the source of the shock, still haven’t got a reply. Fortunately not everyone over at has lost interest in Buell to join the multiple gun threads at that Buell fan site and they kindly directed me to a HOG(NYSE) dealer on fleebay that had the shock and a ton of other Buell stuff. Ordered the shock from St.Paul HD and the other bits from Dennis Kirk on monday, looks like both parcels went through UPS’s Eagan, MN hub that night, and got upgraded to 3 day and sent to JAX via a sleeper team truck. One hop from JAX to Naples and delivered thursday, none to shabby for standard ground service.

Looked at the manual and see I should replace the 12 mm. nylock nuts holding the shock on too, but Fastenal here don’t stock ’em and Grainger is 40 miles away. Time to follow local Airhead rider Roger’s suggestion and try Sunshine Ace Hardware. Now couple years back I was introduced to Sunshine when I needed keys copied, and while there learned that they could even cut and program those frustrating new chipped keys… Clearly not your average hardware store! So may as well try ’em, and sure enough, metric nylocks, in stock!

Been puttin’ off the shock replacement ’til I’ve got a full day to devote to it, so started with the front brake pad replacement first… Damn things only lasted 60K miles! Put the new pads in and seemed to be a bit too little free play at the lever, gently opened the master cylinder and looked a bit overfilled, which explains why the new pads were draggin’ a bit. Headed out bicycling past Wal*Mart, so may as well run in and get some brake fluid on my ride. Now any experienced gearhead will remember when Wal*Mart was the purveyor of all kinds of useful gearhead supplies, 24 hours a day, and at low prices to boot. Well, Wal*Mart had a ton of old DOT3(!) brake fluid in stock, and an empty spot on the shelf where the proper DOT4 is supposed to go. DOT3? We used to refer to that crap as “drum brake fluid”, as the higher boiling point DOT4 was supposed to be used in all vehicles with hydraulic disc brakes. So here we are in 2013, every car and even some bicycles come with disc brakes, and Wal*Mart is still peddling obsolete DOT3, and they’re celebrated logistics system can’t keep proper DOT4 in stock! It gets worse… Looking for a back up source for 20 inch decimal tubes for the Bike Friday, turns out Wal*Mart stocks neither tubes nor tires, but has all kinds of bikes, helmets, and lights. The great unwashed masses that populate Wal*Mart must just replace the whole bike when they get a flat! Off again to Sunshine Ace, and low and behold they have DOT4 in both regular and giant economy size, which I of course opt for. Bled the brakes, straightened out the bowed gasket on the reservoir cover, and brake drag is down to normal “warm disc” standards.

Went for a few more bicycle rides, and sure ’nuff the rear blew out ’bout 5 miles from home. After a relaxed 15 minutes of wrenching I’d installed a new tube and was rollin’ again, only to flat again a mile later. That’d been the last tube, Wal*Mart would be no help, so I limped it home and got online. As expected, the local bike shops were useless, so I surfed over to Bike Friday’s web site with it’s dreaded FedEx shipping surcharges. Despite having had the Bike Friday for a few years now, I haven’t bought a single thing from them because the Fedex shipping often costs as much as the part. What’s this… They’ve switched to USPS and their Priority Mail and bargain Parcel Post offerings… There is hope! Had a couple questions and they answered them promptly by e-mail, so I went whole hog and ordered a pair of tires and three tubes. After an e-mail yesterday announcing that the order had been received, still no confirmation of shipping though my card was charged today. Bike Friday, get with the program… I could be a cross country rider stuck on the side of the road in the Everglades waiting for a tire. Says something too of how important the “lowly” shipping and receiving person(s) are in a small manufacturing company- without someone to keep the welders and machinists supplied the production grinds to a halt, and without parts the customers will quit buying the product. Unless Bike Friday can promptly supply the oddball parts their folding bikes use, cyclists will quit buying them.

If all else fails, I suppose I’ll have to brave the aisles of Tractor Supply again and pick up a tractor sized patch kit…