Friday, 4 May 2012

Late night bike fixing

It's one of those things about being a cyclist. Like always having awful tan lines come September (actually i think mine are now permanent), finding occasional oily chainring marks on your legs, and having strong opinions about the state of Britain's road surfaces. Late night bike fixing, often on a friday evening, is a feature of life. It can be a blessing, sometimes, when you've had a crap day where nothing seems to have gone right, there can be something terribly satisfying about doing a simple task that takes your bike from clunky wreck to showroom performance. Recabling is a personal favourite of mine, it's one of those things that's sufficiently mindless you can just tune out and do it. Wheel-truing in front of an old episode of "Spaced" is another, a nice repetitive task that can help you unwind from a busy week.

At the diametric end of the scale to me, who likes to do bike maintenance to unwind, we find my other half, partner in most things two wheeled, Rachel. Whereas i like to fix things before they are broken, as much for something to do as anything else, given the option Rachel will always ride her bike as opposed to looking after it. This has made for a rather, ahem, uneven division of labour between the two of us over the years, and though that might sound like a complaint, it's really not as i quite enjoy tinkering. It does mean however that when she has to do things herself, it's even more stressful than it might otherwise be, and far from being the relaxing task i find it. So here i am, sitting in our living room, with Rachel removing an exploded tektro cross-top lever from her bike and fitting a new brake cable, with mutterings of "measure twice, cut once, measure twice..." as a background muse.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the experience to me is watching her do things slightly differently to me, like the different ways we have of tying our shoelaces (i'm reliably informed by everyone i know that i do it a weird way, but it works for me). They're not better, they're just a little alien, and i have to quash the little voice in the back of my head that says "stop her, she's doing it wrongly". If you never watch someone else, you will never understand the true variety of human beings, give a person a bicycle to maintain and see them lay bare their mechanical soul...

No comments:

Post a Comment