Saturday, December 09, 2006

On the Contrary

I recently wrote about coming not to be annoyed by strange sounds emanating from my bike.

That lasted all of two days.

This afternoon, I spent three hours pulling apart the Saluki first, and then the Quickbeam, trying to get each to stop clicking and creaking as I rode it uphill.

I succeeded with the former, but am still stumped with the latter. My current theory is that it’s the plastic bottom bracket cup; I took it out, lubed it up, but when I re-installed it, it wouldn’t tighten fully; the threads might be stripped. Tomorrow, I’ll go to the shop and get a replacement; if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll try swapping out the cranks.

I alternate between being fascinated and annoyed by this sort of maintenance. The usual pattern is that I come to what I believe HAS to be the solution to the problem; flush with excitement, I implement it, and then take the rig out for a test ride, only to discover that the sound I set out to eradicate is still there.

At first, I pretend that I’m only imagining the noise. Soon enough, though, I can no longer convince myself it isn’t there. At this point, I go through a few minutes of supposing I can live with it after all. But that doesn’t last, either.

So I head back to the shop, annoyed with the bike, but even more annoyed with myself for not having fixed it.

Eventually, though, the cycle (no pun intended) will repeat itself, and if I’m lucky, there will eventually come the point when I manage to do what a real mechanic could have fixed in a fraction of the time.

It’s an odd way to spend a day: usually, success is measured by bringing something—an essay, a syllabus, a completed gradesheet—into existence; in this case, I count myself successful when something goes away.

Must be what it feels like to be an exterminator.


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