The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 10, 2013

For travelers, there's a whole new rental world out there

(Continued)

I walked the bike several blocks to Bay Area Bikes, where co-owner Clay Wagers replaced the punctured inner tube (diagnosis: a buildup of glass shards and thinning rubber) and tightened the brakes. The bill came to more than the rental. I asked Clay how he would have responded to a customer with a flat tire. He said that the shop typically sends bikers out with an emergency kit that includes a patch and spare tubes. But if a customer couldn't fix the problem on her own, the shop would reimburse her for any off-site repairs or pay for a taxi ride back to the store.

I set off on my new inner tube (selfish thought: It really was mine), arriving at my starting point with no more upsets. I dropped off the bike, hoping to make a quick getaway in Halil's BMW. But bike guy still seemed to be in a sharing mood and invited me in for some toast. I declined, though: I'd had enough breaking bread for one day.

— — —

Joey the Cat is a triple sharer. He lists his Mission District loft on Air-bnb, his fixed-gear bike on Spinlister and his tours on Vayable. But I needed only one of his shares: his skeeball expertise.

The two-time National Brewskee-Ball Champion started our lesson with the game's history and his own. For the former: born in Philly in 1909 as a boardwalk and arcade amusement. For the latter: lost to Skee-Diddy in the 2010 national championship in New York. To avoid another bee sting of loss, he bought a skeeball machine and practiced with the fixed determination of Rocky. He won in 2011 and 2012 but conceded the title to Snakes on a Lane this year.

"The goal is to have fun and get some stats on the side," he said. "No one takes it as seriously as I do."

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