All Right, I’m Saying it…

… that thing about one of the joys of having a bike is the way you can understand it and fix it yourself? Well, it’s bollocks. OK, maybe not for some people – you know mechanically inclined people who don’t have to mutter ‘lefty, loosy, righty, tighty’ to themselves every time they pick up a spanner, and whose glasses don’t fall off their face whenever they bend down to look at something and who know when you have to give something some welly and when to be gentle, people equipped with that mysterious third hand you need to get a back wheel past the chain and the derailleur and through the brake blocks and past the mudguard and into the bit where the wheel axle goes, and who know indeed what the bit where the wheel axle goes is called, people with a large and inventive swearing vocabulary for every possible mechanical malfunctioning occasion, and their very own tubs of Swarfega because there is nothing – but nothing – more filthy than a winter bike.

I am not that person. The other half is that person, but he’s taking the view that I have to learn how to get the wheels on and off my own bike all by myself if I’m going to have fancy tyres and swap them round on a weekly basis (although he did deign in the end to come and swear at my rear wheel for me when I’d run out of expletives and went and pleaded for help). In theory, of course, he is entirely correct that I should learn these things, and that it would be patronising in the extreme for him to just come and do it for me because I’m a weak and feeble woman who wouldn’t want to break a nail or get her ickle hands dirty. In practice – well I was going to say I could maybe stand to patronised a tiny bit on these occasions but thinking about it, I probably couldn’t. Looks like I’d better get myself my own tub of Swarfega…

Still, the spikey wheels are back on, and the forecast is for more overnight frosts so they can stay on for the duration. And after all the swearing and whining and turning nuts the wrong way and my glasses falling off and getting the wheels on all wonky and my hands filthy I still don’t feel in the least like I’ve got any sort of zen connection with the mechanics of my bike. Although I was extremely pleased to note that there was black ice on the road to night so at least it wasn’t all in vain.

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7 Responses to All Right, I’m Saying it…

  1. commuterjohn says:

    Ever felt that now is the time for that winter bike with its spiky tyres on ready for any icy morning that nature suddenly drops on you?
    The cheap but reliable bike to get you through the winter and take the salt splashes from the roads and not have you worrying what its doing to my gears and fancy painted frame…….
    Spanners, oily hands and expletives not required!

  2. disgruntled says:

    heh. No. Get thee behind me…

  3. My problem is that I’m like you, and so is my other half :(

  4. disgruntled says:

    ah – that is a problem. Time to train one of the kids?

  5. 17 year old son has just chosen all the bits, ordered from across the country, paid for (pot washing in the village pub) and built his bespoke mountain bike (he won’t tell me what the bottom line was, but the frame cost over one and a half times what my first car cost!!) I am in awe of my baby….

  6. WOL says:

    I wouldn’t assume your lack of mechanical skill is gender related. I know men who have no mechanical aptitude whatever, and more than a few who would really rather not deal with mechanical things, except for the equally sexist expectation that as men they should be mechanically apt and ept, and if they aren’t it’s a reflection on their “manhood.” And I think your other half is right in expecting you to learn to deal with the bike on your own against the real possibility that you will have to deal with it by yourself, with no mech support at hand. Really it doesn’t matter what you call that part where the axle goes into, as long as you can get the &^$#@!! axle to go into it. . .

  7. disgruntled says:

    UHDD – chapeau to your baby! May he have many happy hours on it…
    WOL – you’re right, and so is the other half, but I’m still mechanically declined :0)

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