NuTs goes tool bag diving

Some time ago, on one of my increasingly infrequent riding sessions, I became aware that the bum bag I was sporting was gaining weight at a rate slightly slower than a middle-aged engineer.  I noticed that once I got my leg hefted over the bike, it was nearly impossible to get my carcass off the fender.  At first I attributed this to physical fatigue, but soon realized that I hadn’t even started the bike yet.  Putting my scientific skills to the test I soon discovered the corpulent tool bag pinning my equally corpulent backside to the fender.

 I pondered the situation.  What if I just ignored this cornucopia of accessories and proceeded with the intended ride?  What could happen?  I couldn’t go anywhere without this load of necessary tools – that’s just an invitation to invoke Murphy’s Law.  But I couldn’t stand up with this thing on my back, and standing is a desirable activity when one is trials riding.  And what if I fell in the crick?  I’d go straight to the bottom only to become the laughing stock of the local trout school.  Carefully considering the options, I decided to go riding anyway.

Then the concluding factor hit me.  The scourge of the characteristically inactive middle-aged American – lower back pain.  Like a searing bayonet through the back of the Pillsbury Doughboy the wretched tool bag performed it’s dastardly deed not 50 meters down the trail.

So it was back to the truck* for the vexatious task of purging the bulging sack-o-tools.  Fortunately for me, a couple Sierra Clubbers were out enjoying a wilderness experience and I enlisted their help in removing the bag from my posterior.  With the offending sack perched safely on the tailgate, I haphazardly yanked the zipper.  The pouch exploded like a Michael Jordan jack-in-the-box sending a shower of trials paraphernalia into a lovely fan-shaped pattern around the back of the truck.  The last thing I saw rifling out of the bag was a pair of vice-grips.

Several minutes later, when I came to, I discovered those vice-grips pinched to my left eyebrow.  Apparently the force must have caused them to clamp shut when they impacted my forehead.  Since I have a forehead that would rival that of Jordi’s, I can see that it was an inviting target for the menacing pliers.  Setting the vice-grips on the tailgate, I carefully opened the tool bag and peered in.  I found another pair of vice-grips.  They must’ve been from my old Bultaco days!  Wondering if this might be true, I stuck my hand deep into the bag and pulled out a spool of baling wire; that confirmed it, some of these tools really were that old.

I continued my quest.  I slipped my hand into the goody-goody grab-bag and pulled out a bottle of Ibuprofen.  800 milligram tablets.  Woo-hoo!  That was a keeper.  I downed a couple on the spot and started a “save” pile.

More tool bag diving revealed a Twinkie.  It had a vague impression of vice-grips on it, making me believe it had been in there at least as long as those pliers.  Considering the half-life of a Twinkie, I figured it was still good and tossed it on the save pile.  My curiosity piqued, I went back in and surfaced with no less than 12 used spark plugs.  Yep, these were plugs out of the ol’ Sherpa T.  I sat for a while with those plugs dripping from my hands and reminisced over the “good old days” of my ancient youth.  A tear came to my eye.

With renewed vigor I returned to the task at hand.  With determination I dug in and found a ratchet, several different styles of plug wrenches, a roll of duct tape, a roll of safety wire, two 10mm wrenches, two crescent wrenches, two screwdrivers, one rounded off allen wrench, a peanut butter sandwich (that didn’t make it to the save pile),  and the perpetrator of the incredible preload within the bag – an old fork spring.

Nearing the end of my whirlwind tour of the tool bag, I hoisted it up, turned it upside down and shook it like the tax man.  Out dropped and assortment of screws, nuts, washers, sticks, jets, zip ties, zip tie shrapnel, safety wire scraps, and $1.75 in quarters given to me at one time or another by my wife in case I need help.  Generally I think it’s a good idea to keep a few coins handy to make a phone call when necessary, but has your bike ever broken down near a telephone?  I didn’t think so.  None of this junk made the save pile.

In fact, the discard pile was reaching monumental proportions.  No wonder my butt was dragging in the sand when I strapped on that leaden pack.  I turned my attention to the sparse collection of items in the save pile and scooped them up and put them in the bag.  With the 1600 mg of ibuprofen finally kicking in, I decided to live large and added a can of Mt Dew to the list of essentials.  I donned my bum bag and rode on with confidence, for I had downsized the contents of my tool bag for maximum efficiency – a Mt Dew, a bottle of ibuprofen, and a 21 year old twinkie.  What else could I possibly need?

*Term used loosely – 85 Ford Ranger 2.8L V6 (P.O.S.)