The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Teaching Bike Rack 101 in Chugwater, Wyoming

Note the strap on the tray on the bottom left of photo.

It all started with an innocent phone call. On the other end was the boyfriend’s cousin with a “I’m driving cross-country after college graduation”. As we were driving east and she west, we made plans to meet up in about 30 minutes at a place famous for fantastic chili (and not much more) known as Chugwater, Wyoming.

When we pulled in, I noticed the cousin’s driving companion was adjusting the bike rack. And by “adjusting”, I mean he was grabbing various parts, shaking them and furrowing his brow. He was inexperienced with this particular system, so I casually glanced over the setup, which revealed the truth. He was a bike rack idiot. (B.R.I.)

The bike rack was an earlier version of the picture above and the most obvious problem concerned the ratcheting strap on the rear tire of the bike. The ratcheting strap on this particular model features a flat side with a “T” like molding that slides onto the underside of the rail. This allows one to firmly clamp the back tire to the rail. B.R.I. didn’t have the strap plugged into the rail, so it hung as a sort of loose bracelet with air on all sides. The reason B.R.I. even thought to look at the rack was an 8-year-old kid approached him at the gas station and said there bikes were falling off which led to the “grab and shake” repair method I was witnessing.

I diagnosed the problem and said the straps needed to slide into the rail, to which he said “I don’t really know what you mean”. At least he knew his limitations. I told him that I know it sounded like a big pain, but we had to take the bikes off the rack and take the rack partially apart. By this point the boyfriend stopped chatting with his cousin to see why I was tearing apart the top of their car. He glanced at it, found my eyes and gave an “oh shit, we’re going to be here for a while” look.

With the bikes and trays off the car, we slid the straps onto the rail and adjusted the positioning of the trays, at times giving B.R.I. instructions in an attempt to expedite the process. His typical response was, “I don’t know what you’re saying,” which prompted one of my witchier comments of all time.

“Not an engineering major, I take it.”

Really? Did I have to say that?

He was a drama major.

This prompted a lively gender-role discussion after we departed the college graduate. The boyfriend thought the cousin (female) would have “figured it out” if we hadn’t been there, to which I pointed out that she didn’t “figure it out” when they put the bikes on the car in the first place. He thought the the B.R.I. probably took care of it all and she didn’t give it a second glance as she trusted his male handy-man skills. I said that anytime a drama major is assembling something, I would have and will be examining it very, very closely. My apologies to any drama majors I may have offended and if you yourself happen to be a B.R.I., it’s okay; just ask for help to avoid injury to your bike, car and America’s driving public.

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