Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bike Repair

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(Click the above image to listen to me read this post -pressing pause to let it load first is a good idea-. All images can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

She was gone longer than usual on her bike ride with Rocky.

I was becoming a little concerned when she finally walked through the door.

“My bike has a flat!” she said.

“I was on the logging road and BAM! it just exploded!”

Sure enough, the side of the tire had popped. The front tire had cracks running along its white wall as well.

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll get it fixed.”

She fretted a little...

“It’s probably going to cost a bunch and I love that old bike.”

“It’ll be OK. Don’t worry.”

The guys at the bike shop said it would be a couple of weeks before they could get around to fixing it. It was a simple new tubes, new tires job, so I bought what I needed.

When I was in middle and high school I used to fish old abandoned bikes out of drainage ditches and rivers and cart them home so I could cobble together my own bikes. My kids never seemed to get into that sort of thing on their own, so this would be a chance for me to teach them a little bike mechanizing.

I gathered them into the front yard beside the bike and explained what we were going to do.

“Mommy loves this old bike and it needs some help. It has a flat tire, and the front one doesn’t look so good. So let’s take it apart and see what we can do!”

They liked the idea.

So we flipped it over and I helped them find the right wrenches.

I explained about rust and Naval Jelly and they went to work cleaning the wheels.

I told them about the bikes I put together when I was their age. I told them an important skill for a man is the ability to figure things out... just diving in and figuring it out.

“What do you think about this back wheel?” I asked Isaac.

He looked it over, trying to guess what I was hoping for.

“Good,” he said.

“Turn this axle. Do you feel the way that when it turns it feels like there is grit or sand in it?”

He turned it tentatively.


I smiled a little. He couldn’t tell, but he wanted his dad to think he knew what was going on, that he was a good learner.

“Mommy rides this bike on dirt and gravel roads when she takes Rocky out for a run. Some of that dirt and grit can get into the axle and it kind of slows things down.

“Let’s take this axle apart and repack the grease. Then you can see how it works, OK?”


Soon I had all sorts of pieces of bicycle innards laid across the sheet of plywood, cleaning off the old grease, explaining what each part does, slathering fresh grease on them again.

“What are those again?”

“Those are bearings. When you carry something you could say that you are bearing it. To bear something means to carry a load. These little balls spin around and make things around them turn easily, while they bear the weight of the bicycle. That’s why we call them bearings. They are round so everything can turn and they bear weight.”

“I see.”

Getting it all back together was trickier. I always did have trouble handling the axle and the inner braking mechanisms, but things slowly returned to their positions.

I showed them how to get the new inner tubes and tires onto the wheels, carefully explaining how this is where it is easy to poke a hole in the tube.

They filled them with air, checking them carefully, repeatedly, with the pressure gauge until each tire had the recommended amount of air.

They were pretty proud of that accomplishment.

They flipped the bike upright.

“I better test it! I don’t want anything rubbing or falling off when Mommy rides it!”

“Works fine!”

“Let’s go get Mommy!”

We stood around grinning as she tried it out.

“How’s it work?” we asked.


She said that it worked like brand new, that it was easy to peddle and was perfectly balanced.

It was just a little time with my boys... a summer afternoon messing with wrenches and grease and such.

And though I cannot seem to clearly, easily, make a connection in this little tale to things of the spirit, to things eternal and right and good... I somehow feel it is so.


jel said...

Sound like you 3 had a good afternoon together,and made your wife happy!

thanks CS

Fox's Mom said...

You made a connection with your sons, and that makes a connection to the Father; you made a happy memory for your sons to carry into their tomorrows, and that makes things of the spirit.

Love is an armour-today's connection is tomorrow's happy memory, which strengthens...



Looney Mom said...

They look so proud of their accomplishment. What an awesome way to spend an afternoon with your sons. I wish there were more fathers like you in this world.

Ame said...

You taught them the way I like to think that God teaches us ~ He is gentle, He draws us in, breaks things down, speaks on our level, teaches as we go through the process, builds it all back together like new, balanced, perfect, priceless ...

Fred said...

What a great way to spend quality time with your family. It doesn't have to be about money and's the simple lessons in life that are the most satisfying.

Fox's Mom said...

Blogger is being difficult today-pop back 'round if you get a chance, I finally got the right post in.

And thank-you:)


Paula said...

Praise God for men like you and my hubby! Without the likes of you, this world would cease to exist.

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Servant,
Like earliers blogs written by you, this made me think of Robert Pirsig and his "Zen and the art of maintaing a motorcycle."
Like my father and my husband, you are amongst the few who know how things are made and function, and find pleasure in using your skills and knowledge in mending and maintaining instead of throwing away and buying new cheap stuff.
It's also a good thing to pass on one's knowledge on to the youger generations. Like when my daughter and I are working together in the herb garden...
It's not only about bonding, but ensuring that she will be able to carry this knowledge on, when I am not there to guide.
Then my thoughts went where you probably wanted me to end. To the Lord, our Creator, who knows us, bears over with our falls and mends what's become broken.
Psalm 103
" 6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust."
How great Thou art!

Jada's Gigi said...

It was definitly eternal and right and good...and spiritual...In Him all things can be spiritual. sounds like a lovely afternoon.

Judas Hate said...

"And though I cannot seem to clearly, easily, make a connection in this little tale to things of the spirit, to things eternal and right and good... I somehow feel it is so."

My feeling is that the passing of positive knowledge in a loving, patient manor is a most spiritual, eternal, right and good practice.

Good call by Felise. She was very close on the title. It's "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance (I'm staring at my old pink-cover copy). It is by Robert M. Pirsig if you care to check it out. When you open the cover, the first thing you read is "The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called 'yourself'."



Felisol said...

See, judas hate, you have just revealed that I am even more sloppy and superficial than I told. I could have googled Mr. Pirsig. Instead I tried to simultan translate the title from Norwegian back to the original language.
But we somehow connected and that's brilliant.
I like your style.

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