Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Repairs

Date: Jan. 3
Mileage: 9.5
January mileage: 36.4
Temperature upon departure: 27

Good ride tonight ... less punchy because I made more of an effort to avoid the moose tracks, with snow so dry and clean that distant sparkles off my LED headlamp mirrored the pepper starlight in the night sky. It almost made up the massive computer meltdown at work today. As our missed deadline faded further and further into the past, we scrambled for solutions with an impatient pre-press operator bearing down from afar. I tell ya, I was this close to pulling out a typewriter, some glue and an exacto knife, and giving up on the whole computerized scandal of it all. But I guess that's the great peril of the digital age, isn't it? The more independence we gain from workaday labors, the more dependent we become on machines we can't begin to understand.

Me? I'm learning to fix my bike - one of the simplest machines available in the modern age. I need to master basic repairs as these longer, more remote rides become more common. Even simple things like changing cables or swapping out the chain frustrate and confuse me. I need to go through each step in slow succession, like a child learning to count to 10. Even then, my attention span usually prevents me from learning after only one demonstration. I have no talent for this stuff. I think this may be why hiking was my first and probably is still my favorite form of outdoor recreation. All you need is a good pair of shoes - and my early forays into the mountains are a testament that you don't even necessarily need that. All this gear just weighs me down. I am learning to live with it ... I do love cycling. And a bicycle, by definition of the sport, is a rather necessary piece of gear. If I want to ride a mountain bike 50 miles into the inhospitable Alaskan wilderness, I'm going to have to learn to fix the thing. But that doesn't mean my mechanical mental block isn't going to fight me every step of the way.