Saturday, August 2, 2008

Well-bikey check-up

The 31st marked 30 days since I purchased my bike. As part of their new bike sales, Bicycle X-Change includes free 30-, 60- and 90-day inspections, so I rode mine down to the Douglas store to have them look at it.

When I told the Mrs. about this, she said, "Awww--like it's a baby?"

Hence the title of this post.

Anyway, something unusual had happened early last week while I was out errand-running that I learned more about on the 31st: just as I was about to turn right off a street, the handlebars suddenly slipped down to their lowest position. I was so startled that I nearly lost control, but I managed to get out of the street safely. When I got home, I couldn't figure out how to re-adjust the handlebars as they had been, so I thought, The 31st is coming up, and the bike is certainly rideable. We'll figure it out then. Turns out, the bolt that holds the handlebars at the angle had fallen out, something that the service guy says rarely happens. He told me I'd need to tighten it up every 5th ride or so.

I'm learning, I'm learning.

Actually, the relative simplicity of the bicycle-as-machine is such that I do want to be more savvy as regards its maintenance. Otherwise, I'm every bit as much at the mercy of my ignorance of it as I am of my car that requires not a human being but a computer to diagnose its ailments.

Say what you will about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a work of philosophy, but as a meditation on how it's really kind of weird how we've become disconnected from the very machines that humans have after all designed, Pirsig seems right on to me. The nifty thing about bicycles is that they truly are elegant machines in their simplicity; and even someone like me, someone not especially mechanically-inclined, can appreciate that to the point that I want to do more than just sit back and admire that elegance but tear my hair out when something goes wrong with it. So, one of these days I'll get my hands on a Fuji maintenance manual and occasionally provide y'all with some grease-monkey posts.

Anyway. The bike is otherwise fine, you'll be pleased to know.

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