And then I tried to talk myself into going for a ride. I bought this bike several years ago because I thought I wanted to ride, but after a few tentative wanderings through the neighborhood I lost interest. Before that, I basically haven't ridden a bicycle since I got my driver's license. There's no need to do the math-- that's a long time.
The old saying about never forgetting how to ride a bicycle once you learn is sort of true, but it's not the whole story. While you may not forget completely, you absolutely lose the competency that you once had. While you remember flying through the neighborhood without a care in the world, your current reality involves tentative wobbling and frighteningly close encounters with the pavement.
Nonetheless, I convinced myself that the only thing to do with a newly working bike was to take it for a ride.
The good: I stayed upright for the half hour ride, and didn't even have any close calls. I'm far from competent, but I also never felt like I was going to bite it.
The bad: I came very close to going out with the back tire partially off the rim. I only spotted it after a few rounds of adjusting my back brakes because they were grabbing as I rolled the bike through the loft. I don't know what would have happened when I started riding, but I'm sure it wouldn't have been pretty.
The ugly: My fucked-up and very slowly recovering shoulder is none too impressed with my having done this. Dammit. I was really hoping that I'd be able to ride without making the shoulder worse.
My first destination was the Jack London Aquatic Center. At this hour it has a nice empty parking lot that's perfect for riding around in circles, and it's about half a mile away on a not-too-busy road. There was one car in the far corner of the parking lot when I arrived.
The first thing I did was adjust the seat height, but just as I climbed off the bike another car pulled into the lot. Dark sedan with white writing, bubblegum machines on top... it was an Alameda County Sheriff. He came over to see if I was OK, we chatted briefly, and then he sat there watching me wobble around in circles for a few minutes before taking off.
About five minutes after the sheriff left, some dude got out of the car and sort of started standing/wandering around it. This seemed like an exceptionally good time to continue on my way, and so I did.