Dad introduced me to the wonderful world of cycling
The day I finally shed my bike stabilisers in the nursery playground he was there cheering me on. Later that same day, we celebrated my graduation with a glass of Irn Bru (which is a carbonated drink that originated from Scotland), and a wagon wheel (which is a round biscuit representing the wheel of a wagon. It has a marshmallow centre and is covered in a chocolate flavoured coating.)
A few years later Dad gave me a hefty bright red road bike as a gift, which he had built for me from bits of old bikes. It was beautiful !
I never had to worry about fixing my bike because Dad took care of it for me.
Unfortunately, I lacked Dad's confidence when it came to fixing things, and spent most of my childhood comparing myself to him, eventually arriving at the conclusion that I was a hopeless failure. ( Please note the punctuation mark at the end of the last sentence which is commonly known as a full stop or period and is an abbreviation for the word DONE)
So, with only 91 days left to live I have decided to remove the full stop from my life and become a budding bike mechanic. Not the kind of bike mechanic who mends outrageously expensive bikes in the Tour De France. I just want to learn the basics.
I purchased Chris Sidwells Bike Repair Manual. It's a jargon-free book with step by step photographs demonstrating how to repair a bike.
' Modern bikes may seem complicated and the technology that manufacurers use may be moe sophisticated than ever. However, cycle components work, as they have always done, according to logical priniciples, so there is no reason for you to be daunted.'
Mr Sidwells sounds like a very nice man.
I visited the local DIY store and purchased some Long Nosed Pliers - which are supposedly very good for holding things firmly. (See below for a picture of Long Nosed Pliers - parental discretion advised.).
My first bicycle repair occured shortly afterwards when I decided to treat Harrry Heritage to a new tyre fitting.
Shwalbe Marathon Plus -"Virtually impregnable street tyres that roll reasonably well".
Removing the wheel was pretty straighforward. I could feel myself growing in confidence. Unfortunately, things rapidly deteriorated when I started fitting the new tyres - they just kept popping off the rim. So, there I sat, with my head in my hands, reduced to tears.. by a tyre.
I prayed to Dad for guidance...
'The virtuallly impregnable street tyres are virtually impossible to fit . They keep popping off the rim. Please help! 'Have another go son.'
So I took a deep breath, picked up the wheel, dusted myself off and started again
'You can do it lad.'
I picked up the wheel again and again until finally, after two hours of hard sweat and tears, the tyre finally popped onto the rim. I danced around the room waving my arms in the air, free as a bird.
" One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind" - Neil Armstrong
Since then, the virtual puncture fairy has visited me twice. Thats okay; I am choosing to roll with the Holy Spirit. One day, I might even build my own bike and call it 'Spirit of Jim.'
In my experience; a little willingness goes a long way.
'Imagine every person in the world is enlightened but you . They are all your teachers . each doing just the right things to help you learn patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.' - Buddah