Just so story

It is satisfying to have things just so.

I’ve got the Choctawhatchee Chariot – that’s the nom de giro for my Santana tandem – right where I want it. In all respects, the bicycle we’ll depend on to get us from Natchez to Tupelo, is set up exactly as I want it. It’s got the right stuff in the right place and it’s turned up.

20180505_001635390_iOS (2).jpg

Could I spec out a tandem that would be jazzier, splashier, lighter with a tighter gear range? Absolutely. Comfort and security have much to recommend them, though. I am sure I can keep the Choctawhatchee Chariot running smoothly and effectively. I am certain of its durability and dependability.

I don’t wish I had a different drivetrain. There is no saddle I’d rather have. I’ve got the rack and bags I want to, and know I can, depend on.


The clinch bolt on the rear derailleur is stripped out and running without the missing washer designed to hold the cable snug. But I’ve got the unique replacement and the spare cable, literally, in the bag.

There is a bent spoke on the freewheel side of the rear wheel. That’s the only thing I would change.

Otherwise, it’s perfect.

20180111_002934049_iOS (2).jpg

There is an American-made frame, bottom bracket, hubs and seatpost. The seats and bags are British. The tires and rack are German. Japanese companies made the derailleurs, chain, and cranks. Yes, Italians are represented in the headset.

The bike is not too hot. It is not too cold. It is just right.

Talk to me June 8. I am confident I’ll say the same thing.

By then we will have pedaled three-quarters of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s entire length. The NTP is the National Park System’s seventh-most visited unit, with 5.6 million recreational visits in 2012. A National Park Service report concluded 5.7 million recreational visitors in 2011 brought $93 million in spending to communities near the Parkway. In the voodoo economics of these things, the report figured that economic activity supported 1,200 private-sector jobs. That’s in addition to the 140 FTEs within the $10.8 million authorized budget in fiscal year 2013.

We’ll be spending perfectly good federal scrip – our Georges, Abes, (most to the point) Andrews, and Benjamins are accepted even in rural Mississippi – as we eat hamburgers, go to baseball games, and visit public libraries.

I’ll also be hauling a heavy-duty combination lock along with us, a weight and volume I’d as soon eschew, so we won’t make any involuntary contributions to the economy of Mississippi.

The whole while we’re pedaling those 300-plus miles we’ll be confident of our ride, knowing there is nothing for it but to pedal on.