Word of the day: Thule

Brand name: Thule

Pronounced: Tooly

What you feel like if you say “Thool” like I did: a tool

Proper usage: “This Speedway 2 rack by Thule will look great on the back of your car when you arrive for your race this weekend.”

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Yesterday was a special day in the life of a Smiter: I bought a bike rack for my car. Yes indeed, folks. Last week was the new running shoes (after a year of injury-related sabbatical from that pastime) and the Bike Jersey of Great and Colourful Ferociousness (after 8 months of not riding due to winter and, more importantly, a pile of broken bones acquired last fall).

The Bike Jersey of Great and Colourful Ferociousness

And apparently all this sports-related retail therapy is taking on a life of its own because I then decided that if I’m going to look like a mountain biker (see “Jersey” etc., above) and race like a mountain biker, then I’d better be able to transport my ride like a mountain biker — which means not trying to stuff the damn thing into the hatchback of my car.

Does this belong in your trunk? No, it does not.

One of the features of my car, the much-ballyhooed Pontiac Vibe (Latin for Money Toilet), is that when the rear seats are folded down, the resulting space is shockingly roomy. “Camping” roomy. “Steamy nights at the drive-in” roomy (if Smiter were 30 years younger and there were any drive-ins to be found).

And as such, it even holds my beloved Trek 4300 mountain bike, if by “hold” you mean “wrestling the bike into a horizontal position and coating yourself in extravagant streaks of grease as you stuff it rear-wheel-first into the car, trying not to rip the derailleur off or smack yourself in the head with the handlebars as you turn the air blue with language that would shock a stevedore.”

It has been, I admit, an adequate solution to my bike-transport needs thus far, in the way that it would be “adequate” to take a donkey on the bus.

I'll give you a bus token, all right.

But with this weekend’s “Dirt Divas” event coming up, my very first bike race ever, I decided it was time to stop treating my bike like a cord of firewood and buy it a proper rack. If nothing else, it will save me dry-cleaning fees and repair charges for that poor derailleur.

My big plan, then, as a cheap, Scottish Smiter, was to stop by Canadian Tire (motto: “Just try to find our staff! Ha, ha!”) on my lunch hour and nab whatever they had in stock. They do have some adequate-looking bike racks on display on their website.

And there’s that word, “adequate,” again.

Luckily, however, I stopped by the desk of our Mighty and Ferocious Durham Dragons Leader, Miss Shannon, before I set out and told her of my cunning plan. (Actually, I was also asking her if she wanted to go get a bowl of Vietnamese Pho — a favourite of ours — en route to Crappy Tire.)

She didn’t have to say a word (she would make a good Mom in this regard, actually). As she sat there open-mouthed with dismay, I began to see the light of day, in the form of a vivid cranial movie featuring my expensive-ish and much-beloved mountain bike crashing onto the highway behind me at 120 clicks, cheapo bike rack still strapped to it.

(She also tactfully told me how to pronounce “Thule.” I expect I am going to be teased to death at the actual ride & probably have Gatorade dumped on my head by the rest of the team, after they finish clutching their sides & falling about laughing. Sigh.)

Oops. Should have spent the extra 50 bucks.

Anyway, all this gave me pause for thought. So instead, I stopped by my local specialty store after work and for about $50 more than I was prepared to lay down for a piece of discarded robot innards at Crappy Tire, I have now got an excellent brand-name carrier in my clutches.

As I write this, it stands partly assembled on my dining room table, awaiting its final transport out to the Money Toilet, where it will be affixed to the rear of the car. I will then bring out my bike and make the proper introductions, strap it all up and take the entire contraption for a test run before Saturday morning arrives.

I expect I will look extremely ferocious and cool as I thunder along, providing of course that Smiter’s Law does not rear its head today and cause a TTC bus (possibly with donkey aboard — just my luck) to rear-end me at a four-way stop.

Next stop, King City!

See you on the trails.

Bikin’ Smiter out.

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