As a follow-up to this bike adventure, I did make it home, although a piece at the back wheel fell off and was rattling around stuck between the wheel and the part it screws into. Also, the front tire is getting even lower and squishier, and when I got home and checked the receipt from the bike shop — yeah, that tube was just replaced.
Seriously, though, making repairs is way more than this bike is worth. If the shop doesn’t take care of this crap for free (which, seriously, not screwing in a piece of a bike you took apart = NOT COOL), I might look into just getting an actual bike that fits me height-wise and comfort-wise, rather than this thing I got at Wal*Mart eight years ago for $80.
I know some of you are Chicago-area or Chicago-familiar folks. Anyone have any recommendations for good bike shops, preferably on the north side?