Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bike Repair

To be filed under the annals of "Overcoming paralyzing fear." I had some issues with my bike, which I tried my best to ignore in the hopes that it would simply go away, all stemming from a fear of failure if I actually worked up the courage to deal with it. Then again, what's the worst that could have happened? I could have done it wrong and simply taken it into the shop to have it fixed.

I find that a fear of failure, or something I can't quite express, often paralyzes me from taking action and resolving a problem. I find this happens again and again throughout life, and as often as I realize the folly of it all, I still fall prey to it. Why can't I learn from my mistakes?

Because we only have one car (don't get me started on this), we end up riding our bikes a lot. There are many good consequences to this, including the fact that it's fun and we get some exercise, and it's good for the environment. Of course, it has its limitations, especially in light of the weather, but for the most part, it works out fine because we live in a wonderful town that has many things going on locally, and we usually end up seeing our friends close by. This makes riding a bike a great option. AND, the kids really enjoy riding their bikes, though I'd love to get a bike path because the cars make me too nervous.

Anyway, the other day I began to notice that that my bike was riding a little rough, though I attributed it to old age, not unlike what I see in my own body. The bump was getting progressively worse and as hard as I tried to ignore it, it wouldn't go away. Finally, one day R borrowed it and said it was like riding a death machine, so I decided to investigate.

And what a good idea that was, because it turns out that the rough ride was caused by a major rupture that was forming out of the side of my rear tire. The inner tube was literally poking out. I decided not to ride it anymore until the situation was fixed and stored it in the barn until either it magically fixed itself or by some miracle a new bike fell from the sky.

Well, neither happened, and at some point I really needed my bike because I use it to get to the bus stop for work and A&N were endlessly bugging me to play tennis (we ride our bikes to get there). The time had come to act. I had purchased a new tire from Morris Bros. and it was gathering dust and cobwebs in the barn. Now I was going to have to actually do something with it. I hadn't changed a bike tire in years, and the thought of it daunted me, especially since it was the back tire, involved multiple sprockets and the de-railer. Surely I would destroy something while I tried to fix it.

I had to man up to the job, because getting it to the bike shop was a pain, and how hard could it be? Taking off the wheel was easy, it's when you put it back on that the problems occur. But I realized the key was to keep in mind how it went on and take things slowly. And once I got the wheel off, it all started to come back to me.

Getting the tire off was a breeze because the thing was so old that it was like a rubber band. It was putting the new tire on that really challenged me. After a period of wrestling with it, I replaced the tire and inflated it. Of course, in typical fashion, I'd managed to create new problems while trying to amend old ones. The minute I inflated the tire, I could hear a hissing sound that indicated to me that there was a leak in the tube. It wasn't there when I'd started, so clearly I introduced the rupture myself. I had to get that bear of a tire off and then locate the leak, which was easy, it didn't solve my problem. Now I needed a patch repair kit or a new tube, which meant another few days before I could get to the shop. Meanwhile, the kids are waiting, tennis rackets in hand.

Well, as luck would have it, we have an old junker bike in the barn that I'd gotten for free from a neighbor. The thing doesn't really work, but the tires are in good condition. I immediately took one of the tires off, took off the tube, and used that in my book. Sure, it wasn't a perfect fit, but it worked, and in due time we were back in business and ready to hit the courts.

And best of all, I overcame my paralyzing fear and once again did something that I was trying to avoid because I didn't really know what I was doing. Then again, what else is new?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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