Thursday, March 04, 2010

My Bike, My Life

Trek replaced my cracked steel LeMond frame—and all the parts were swapped out and put on the Trek 2.3 frame. That 2002 Buenos Aries had about 30,000 miles on it – and I loved that bike. Shortly after riding the new transformed “Mighty Trek” as my friend Paul would coin the bike, I noticed the cranks wobbling. Phil at Pima Street Bikes replaced the bottom bracket and so I was back on the road.

Some of the Lads I ride with kept telling me they heard a squeak I as pedaled on our jaunts—first Ryan, and then Alan. I must be getting hard of hearing because I could not hear these things—until a few days ago on the commute.

It only took Phil two minutes to diagnose the condition—chain ring worn down, chain shot, and cassette worn out.

Worn out
Worn down

Is that me? Is that my life as it stands? I mean I got to hustle and get out the door for the morning commute—and it’s dark. I’m going all out to get home before the sun sets. Then in the evening I’m packing and getting things ready all over again—often if feels like I have just enough time to air up the tires and lube the chain so I can drag myself to bed—so I can get on the road at 5:30 a.m.

After hearing the diagnosis from Phil, and feeling bummed with it all—I looked closely at my bike: what a fine machine it is—built for speed, mostly modified and up-graded over the years with parts to suit a randonneur’s game.

But in the parking lot of the shop, standing in the beautiful bright Tucson afternoon sun, I see my bike is covered with dust and grime from the streets. Dried streams of white salt from sweat run down the frame. The faint smell of exhaust reminds me of the I-10 Frontage Rd from last week—and then I notice my tires— both front and back are about shot. There’s that word again.The chain, the gears, the tires—everything looking worn, worn out…

Two years of Little Egypt’s unemployment meant just getting by—just getting by on one income. Buying the tires that were a bit less expensive—wearing two pair of shorts, the one to cover up the hole in the other pair (made for a bit more cushion on me arse however) using Gatorade instead of Heed or Sustained Energy—I guess you get the idea.

Last week the elbow ripped out of one my favorite work shirts. I need new shoes, I need new shirts, pants, etc, etc, etc. Suddenly I’ve realized I need new glasses; new frames and new prescription. It’s dawned on me that I haven’t bought anything new or replaced anything I own in over two years. Maybe its been three years?

The wear shows on my bike –and then the wear shows in my clothes for work. I wonder—what about my bones? What about my heart? My lungs and my blood? My sight? My hearing? What about my mind?

Have I kept up with the trends in my profession? Have I read up? Do I want to do this job forever working with these twits?

Have I been a good friend? Husband? Father? Have I taken care of the important stuff?
Maybe writing this will help me put all this together?

I will say that Little Egypt’s getting a job has helped, really helped—but like the years in Afghanistan, now it seems she lives a world away; I know she is very homesick for her ancestral mountains and sky.

There is some relief with her income, but we now we have two households to keep. Rent in Lawrence KS is not cheap, mes amis, and it is bitterly cold there as I write this and you read. But, as she would say, it is where the job is, and that appointment is slowly helping us crawl out of debt.

Until I have the money to get the Trek fixed up and good to go, I’ll ride my Raleigh Super Grand Prix. I’ll go over every detail to make sure I’m not making something minor worse for wear.

Often I am introduced as the bike rider—not just a bike rider, but one that does those insanely long rides to the ends of the earth. We all know that to some, 100 miles on a bike is something humans are not equipped to do—and I am not in the same league as those great randonneurs or ultra riders—but yeah, I can ride…

So why? Why ride, they say?

Maybe our days in the saddle are numbered…
Let’s both hope that time will be a long way away…

May you wear out many rings, tires, and chains, Gentle Reader of This Blog—Allure Libre!

Cheers! Bruce

1 comment:

Sir Bikesalot said...

Far better to wear out in action than to gather dust or rot and fester in fatness.