Friday, 16 August 2013

John and the art of bicycle maintenance

We always lament the strict gender divisions we come across on our travels. I am musing these as I wash down the bikes and fiddle with the brakes and gears, while Gayle stays in the cool of our room doing sewing jobs. Vic spots me with an allen key in my hand and immediately falls under the impression that I know a thing or two about bikes.  He shows me his wobbly back wheel and asks if I could 'have a look'.   His bike looks like he has just retrieved it from a skip.  For show I turn it upside down.  Then with a spanner I remove the back wheel.  One side of the axle falls out.  I remove the axle on the other side and compare the two parts carefully.  It takes me a good ten minutes to realise that this might be the problem: the axle should be in one piece. Hmm.  At this point I should find Vic and tell him with a sad shake of my head that, with regret, I can't repair it and haven't a clue what to do.  But foolishly I tell him he needs a new axle which he goes and gets straight away. He also brings me a beer for my trouble. 

After a lot of huffing and puffing and with enough black grease all over me that I feel tempted to drop on one knee and start wailing "Mammie" I realise that there is something else awry.  Oh ballbearings.  Ballbearings. There aren't any.  I explain the position to Vic but I'm a little vague.  This time Vic gets it.  He knows now that I really don't have a clue.  But he is gentle and kind about it.  The next day when I see him he has the neighbour taking a look at the wheel.  To my relief the neighbour is telling Vic to take the wheel down to the bikeshop to get it fixed.  I am spared.  I notice that the neighbour is also fixing a puncture on the front wheel.  With my track record I am truly delighted to avoid this task.  

So much for my idle daydream to become a bike mechanic so that I could work in Norway for the summer and then travel in the Gayle gives a little chuckle.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'm suitably impressed! I've done two bicycle mainentance classes now - and I still feel befuddled when I have to pump the tyre up.