Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Spirit of Jim

DAY 91

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


  1. Hello Nige. You are here in the room and I am laughing uproariously - your humour is such a delight to me :)

    Nige... You can do it lad. I am so glad that these experiences have come your way, to challenge you, but mostly to challenge what you believe about yourself. Is it true?

    I know the Truth about you. I wake up knowing it and I go to sleep knowing it, and when I forget, I know that deep down I remember.

    In you I see a mechanic... his hands are nimble, his spirit is full of Jim, and he laughs knowingly at the visitations of the puncture fairy, thankful for yet another opportunity to explore and use his prowess and skills. And he, my dear friend, is you.


  2. Oh my. The sweetness & humor & photographs here took me on an emotional ride...eyes filling with tears a few times, giggles inside, inspiration to try some of those things that I've decided I'm not good at (like repairing things, for example).

    I feel more courageous after reading this post, Nige. And Elloa, your comment up there touched me so deeply too--you two are just the sweetest together. Truly. Two beautiful people like you together...what a gift.

    Sending you both love and more love.