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Bike mechanic rises to the call

Sun., April 17, 2011, midnight

OUTSTANDING – Lee Smith of Seattle needed more than a bike mechanic before the recent Cooper Jones Frozen Flatlands Omnium on the Palouse.

She needed a hero.

When her Campagnolo shifters disintegrated during the Friday afternoon practice ride with her teammates, she had only enough time to call a few local bike shops before they closed.

“They all said Two Wheel Transit was the one place that had the expertise, and most likely the parts,” she said. “Unfortunately, Two Wheel was closed, and would not open in time for my 9:28 a.m. time trial.

“I made one final phone call before resigning myself to merely being a cheerleader for my teammates the whole weekend. I called my shop in Seattle (R&E Cycles). It was after-hours for them, too, but somebody in the shop picked up. Miracle: Willie (who worked for Two Wheel Transit before moving to the rainy side of the state) was there.”

Willie contacted former colleagues in Spokane and at 1 a.m. Smith was awakened to a phone call and “a kind, cheerful voice telling me he understood I was desperate for help.”

Long story short: Two Wheel mechanic Tom McFadden met Smith at the shop at 2 a.m. He rebuilt the brakes, charged her $7 for the part, $20 for the labor and refused her tip.

Sleep-deprived but with good wheels and teammates, Smith returned to race with her Team Group Health and WIN the Category 3 women’s title.

She wants everyone to know of McFadden’s effort for a desperate out-of-towner.

However, Tom refused to let us get a photo of him for this report.

“(McFadden) is very impressive in a not-trying-to-impress-you way,” explained Two Wheel co-worker Tomás Lynch.

Vanishing Bees at Magic Lantern

OUTSEE – A third of the food we eat – including apples, broccoli, watermelon and cherries – need honeybees for pollination.

A 90-minute film, “Vanishing of the Bees,” will be screened Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main St.

For a suggested $5 donation, visitors will have pre-show access to booths featuring local beekeeping groups, info packets, organic honey treats and seeds to plant for backyard pollinators.

Info: Inland Northwest Land Trust, 328-2939.

Help hungry bears avoid trouble

OUTFIELD – As black and grizzly bears emerge from hibernation, wildlife managers are asking people who live in bear country – that’s virtually anywhere north and east of Spokane – to clean up their act and avoid creating a problem bear out of a normal hungry  bear.

Males of both species usually come out of dens first and get their bowels activated by eating grass.

Females with cubs den separately and generally emerge after the males have had a chance to start fattening on winter-killed deer and elk.

But basically, bears eat everything.  So it’s important to clean up bird feeders, secure garbage and keep pet food inside.

REI-NOLS offer First-aid course

What: Wilderness First Aid Class, in-depth class.

When: May 7-8.

Who: Taught by NOLS Wilderness Medicine.

Cost: $200.


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