I wandered into a downtown Spokane bicycle shop the other day where I agreed to squat on a stool to have my rear end evaluated.
The shop owners refer to this measuring device as the “Bench of Truth.”
We’ll get to that humiliating – yet surprising – part of my tale in a moment.
It’s more important to first explain the worthy cause that took me to Two Wheel Transit, 1405 W. First Ave.
To do that we must travel back to a December day last year, when the new owners of Two Wheel Transit rolled a shining pair of youth bikes into the lobby of The Spokesman-Review.
Geoff Forshag (pronounced for-shay) and Bruce Abbotts had hoped to donate the brand new Trek bicycles to the newspaper’s Christmas Fund, which each year distributes a Santa-sized load of toys, food vouchers and books to the area’s needy families.
Forshag and Abbotts soon learned that the fund is set up to receive monetary donations, not expensive individual items.
But nobody wanted to see such generosity wasted.
So an editor asked me if I would use my soapbox to hold a bicycle auction with every cent funneling into our Christmas Fund. I said sure, hoping to at least raise the $540 retail value of the bikes.
I was in for a happy shock.
After a few days of spirited bidding, a wonderful couple, Adam and Michele Jessup, won the bikes with a whopping $2,002 donation.
Flash forward to (almost) present time.
Forshag asked if I would be willing to reprise our auction.
Only Ebenezer Scrooge would say no.
So one morning last week I accepted Forshag’s offer to come to Two Wheel Transit and check out the bikes that are up for grabs.
True to their word, Abbotts and Forshag have upped the ante.
There is a boy’s bike and a girl’s bike. They each retail for $330. These are really sharp, 21-speed models. The Trek bikes are blue and white and carry a lifetime warranty on the frames.
The bikes have 24-inch wheels, yet they are also designed with what Trek calls a “dialed fit.” That means they can be adjusted to accommodate growing young riders from 51 inches to 63 inches tall.
They are on display at Two Wheel Transit for anyone who’d like to take a look.
But here’s the deal.
We’ll run this auction until 5 p.m. Friday.
The rules are the same. Submit your bids to me by phone or e-mail via the information below. You can bid on either bike or both. Make sure to leave your name and a phone number.
Let’s really raise some do-re-mi.
As I wrote last year, “maybe you know a child who’d love a new bike for Christmas. Maybe you like to help the Christmas Fund. In that case, think of the bike as a premium, like those tote bags you get in a public radio pledge drive.”
I’ll even throw in an autographed copy of my book, “Loose Clark Journals,” to sweeten the deal.
(Those babies are so rare you can hardly find them at garage sales anymore.)
Now as for that aforementioned bench …
Serious bicyclists are a little like door-to-door evangelists.
That is to say that bikers are always looking to convert a new soul into their flock.
The point is that it didn’t take long for Forshag to ask when I was going to get back on the saddle again.
He knew about my pedaling past from one of my previous columns. It’s true. Once upon a time I rode nearly every day.
I subscribed to bicycling magazines. I wore silly stretchy shorts and bicycle shoes.
But, as I explained to Forshag, that was many, many pieces of pie ago.
The thought of subjecting my much older and wider derriere to the torture of one of those excruciatingly narrow bicycle seats fills me with dread.
That’s when Forshag told me about the great advancements in bicycle seat technology. There is now, he said, a comfortable seat designed for fannies of every dimension.
All I had to do is sit down on the Bench of Truth.
The imprint I would leave on a special pad would reveal what size saddle I would need.
“They don’t make ’em that big,” I quipped.
But I did it. I sat. I stood up. I steeled myself for bad news.
Then something amazing happened.
Forshag examined the telltale marks. He told me my caboose was well within the boundaries of normalcy.
I am not a freak!
This was the best news I’ve heard since they repealed the candy and soda tax.
I’m not sure this revelation will get me on a bicycle again.
But I would certainly call it a Christm ass Miracle.