Patio Cover vs Bike

Velominati Rule 20 remedy 3 (the Rules) states “If you feel wimpy and weak, see Rule 5 and get out and train more!” This rule, quite possibly, could be the reason why this patio cover project has taken me so long to complete.

The objective task was to replace the cover over the rear patio at my home. The existing cover, made of painted wood and plastic cross-hatch panels, was suffering from rot, peeling, and progressively advancing unattractiveness. It didn’t even keep rain out, so maybe it didn’t really qualify as a patio cover. More like a heavy-duty trellis that provided a bit of shade and a place for vines to climb and birds to perch.

patio cover BEFORE

The task would involve

– Tear down the old stuff, avoid squashing the dog.
– Get rid of the old stuff.
– Dream up a new design that *will* keep rain out.
– Get replacement material.
– Build it, avoid squashing the dog.

la Mocha

Sounds like a lot of work. Just contemplating it is a lot of work. Especially when I can take the dog for a walk to the corner upslope from my place and gaze south to contemplate the Palos Verdes hills where I could be riding, instead of swinging a hammer or ripping a 2×6 with a Skilsaw.

And I did just that. Started the project in April of 2010, and it became an exercise in avoidance. It’s not really feasible to do a little at a time, because whatever amount you do requires getting out the tools, makes a mess that has to be cleaned up, and the tools have to be put away. So any session with the project is a commitment of at least four hours.

Let’s see, in four hours I could get myself prepped for a ride, do a ride around and up to the top of Palos Verdes, stop for a latte and pastry, get back home and shower, then park myself on the couch for a “Two and a Half Men” rerun with flaxseed-infused tortilla chips and peach salsa.

Easy call. Which is why it took me about 14 months to complete this project. The tear down portion does have a certain primal appeal when you’re swinging a 16 pound sledge hammer, but all too soon you’re cutting junk into smaller pieces of junk so they fit in the trash bin and sweeping up bits, which gets tiresome. Eventually the corner is turned and the rebuild begins, but I can still find plenty of ways to procrastinate. Like riding. And loafing at the local cyclist cafe post-ride with latte, pastry and conversation.

It was literally 5 months between taking delivery of reclaimed rough-sawn lumber from Freeway Building Materials up in LA and laying down the first cut line on one of the planks. You might ask why I don’t just hire somebody to do the job. I think one of the reasons is that the middle step up above, about dreaming up a new design, tends to be rather vague. I’ll have a general design in mind, but don’t really have the details ironed out. I get into it and see where it goes, start making mods that would give a contractor fits. But perhaps the bigger reason is that I don’t have to manage anybody else who might not show up because he’s out there doing his own bike ride.

patio cover AFTER

The collection of photos for the project can be found at patio-project.

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