Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Dad Would Be Proud

Growing up, my dad was a general all around handyman, who always knew how something worked, how to fix it, how to take it apart and put it back again.  He was a general all-source of knowledge about mechanics (he's a diesel mechanic), woodworking, electronics - you name it he knew how to fix it.  Some of my fondest memories of me with dad was "helping him" out in his sawdust strewn shop, screws and nails and tools strewn everywhere, greasy parts shoved in corners and hanging from the ceiling.  In the summer it was hot and dark and there was a tiny fan in the one little window of the shop which was attached to our wrap around porch. 

After years of living on and off with him, I got less interested in mechanical natures of things and, like most teenage girls, grew more interested in boys and having fun.  I'm predisposed to words and philosophy and poetry (still interested in boys and having fun) rather than mechanical things.  Physics stumped me, even though I made A's in it, and Geometry was the one class I ever earned a B in (and I earned that B).  My brain just doesn't naturally *see* the way things work.  

That's changing.  I am absolutely fascinated with bikes (obviously) - how they work, how to fix them, how the mechanics of it all come out.  It's become an extension of my body - and I believe I should know how to maintain and fix my bike (part of my body) as well as I know my own body (how to tell when something's off, what it needs to operate at it's highest efficiency, etc...).   Put simply - I would be as likely to slip in the snow/ice/sleet on my feet as I would on my bike.  Tonight was a great example of that.  I went out for coffee with a friend, ended up walking about a mile in typical rainy/sleety/snowy weather and slipped 5-6 times, got on my bike and rode the 4ish miles home and besides having some natural adjustment period to the higher tension of clip out in the pedals that had just been put on, didn't have one single issue.  It's becoming more and more natural for me to be on my bike than to walk or run or sit.  

Andrew's been really helpful and in the past week I've learned how to change brake pads, true a wheel, how derailers/shifters work and how to adjust them, how to maintain and clean my chain and cassette, among a plethora of other miscellaneous items. I feel really happy working on bikes, cleaning/fixing/adjusting.  I feel at home being greasy and dirty and sifting through my toolbox or using my awesome very handy multi-tool. :)  I think of my dad every time I get greasy and dirty fixing something.  In the back of my head I feel like he's there with me,  proud - supportive - happy.  That above all else gives me joy.  

I really do love my Dad.  This is a picture of him, me, and Cathy (my step-mom) at my wedding May 18th 2007.  I swear I'll get a more recent picture of me up here soon.

So as a tribute to my new semi-ish-mechanical self, when I have time (ha!) I'm going to tear apart my old bike (a Cypress hybrid I named Dorthy after my Dad's mom=my paternal grandmother) just to put it back together again.  Eventually I'll turn it into a mule.  Something to leave out in sketchy parts of the city, laden down with racks to haul groceries in, etc...  

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