Tuesday, January 13, 2009

maybe it's maybelline

(as promised, i am catching up on blog posts)

things rarely work out.

i realize that most of my audience is older than me and already know that, but in the off-chance that i do have some youngins reading this, i hope you all wisen up and learn this lesson sooner rather than later. and not just learn the lesson, but really internalize it.

you see, i always know things won't work out as i plan - at least in the cerebral... but there is that hidden optimist in me, that although i try to shove in the high school locker, that bitch always manages to sneak out-- leading me to make bad decisions-- leading me to think: yes i can! when in reality i should be thinking: no fucking way! now i am sure i can point to my hidden optimism leading me to a couple of life successes, but really, i think more often than not it bites me in the ass.

and nothing seems to remind me of this more concretely than working on bikes.

i can recall when i first got my motobecane - R.I.P. - and i thought it was a good idea to fiddle with something called a "derailleur." This was my first bike with more than one gear, and one month later on a friday night i find myself totally defeated with a broken bike. i spent the next saturday taking apart that derailleur and figuring out all these weird screws and finally decided that this one particular screw was stripped and that is why nothing was working. this is after at least five hours, mind you. i walk into the bike shop, with said screw in hand, and i can remember the look on the poor mechanics face vividly. he looked at me like i was a hobo (because i probably looked like one) and said: "i'm am really sorry to tell you this -- because you don't look so good -- but we don't have that screw. it is too old." it can't be good when the mechanic tells you you don't look so good. i left defeated, walked to my friend's house who opened the door in shock, because i apparently had bike grease all over my face. i think i finally got the screw and fixed the thing...after probably using a full bottle of GoJo.

that was merely one story of many -- of me thinking i can fix my bike. it doesn't seem like it should be so hard. it isn't like a car with electrical work. it seems easy... until a simple fix turns into many hours later with grease all over the living room walls.

so when i picked up the shoddy aluminum frame, of course i figured i'd be able to swap all the parts off hernando's bike...and use that carbon fork i won in goldsprints...

so of course when friday night rolls around, i am not surprised that i have been at fred's apartment for many, many hours (at least i solicited some help) and have made little headway, except getting two cable housing end caps stuck in the downtube. for two hours i lay under the bike trying to get it out.

so let me review some devises tried...
needle nose plyers, the obvious. too big

spoke. i was hoping the bent part of it could drag it out, but it wasn't terribly handy.

next came the dental pick. like the spoke, it had the rounded part, but it was a bit more extreme and sturdy.

there were a few other object in there.. but then came....

the maybelline eye brow tweezers. now, these weren't mine, as you all know, considering i am definitely bushy eyebrow girl. these were fred's-- and i don't think he plucks his eyebrows, so these must either be for old man nose hair or ear hair. anyway, ideally these would be good because they are considerably smaller than the needle nose and have a similar gripping capability. however, unfortunatley, they are made for plucking hair, not end caps, and i bent the tweezers pretty good and then they got stuck inside my bike for a good fifteen minutes.

long story short is, i only got one end cap out. then the second flash light died and i called it quits. the second one wouldn't come out. at least, not by me. i spent 2 hours and couldn't get it. it was definitely time to get some help.

so when it took tim brennan approximately 20 seconds to get it out, i felt like a pretty big moron. and then he spent a very long time fixing everything else that was apparently fucked up. i think i am now a banned customer at paradigm cyclery after the headache i caused. and all that headache i caused tim...all because i actually thought i could fix something -- HA! when will i learn?


Alice said...

Speaking of things rarely working out, don't try plucking nose hair unless you really want to shed tears. I'm pretty sure guys use nose clippers. But my curiosity is peaked now.
Your blog is a good antidote to the morning news. More like PBS Story of the Day, and Wait, Wait, don't tell me! Can't wait for the next entry!

Bandobras said...

As a fairly accomplished bike mechanic I am going to let you in on a trade secret. If any other mechanic finds my address from this they will probably have me killed but here goes.
We have all had the exact same sort of screwups. We have all stripped threads and ended repairs with extra parts left over or too few to put things back together. I once spent over an hour trying to take off a pedal. Well actually I spent over an hour tightening it cause it has a left hand thread and it was only because of a lack of adequate leverage I didn't manage to strip it completely. My dad came home saw the problem and showed me the solution. I'm a wizard at pedals now but that's through experience. Keep tinkering it's well worth the frustration.

Anonymous said...

I have found that the only way I learn a lot of things, and bike maintenance is one of them, is by breaking it and doing it wrong the first time. Now if you are doing the same thing wrong 6 times, that might be cause for another post. Keep tinkering.

Anonymous said...

reading is usually a good start to working on something....a bicycle, car, house, lasagna....

for bicycle repair & maintenance: there are many hardcovers available (Zinn)
And then the unbelievable online resource of Sheldon Brown, may the Gain Ratio wizard rest in peace!

you'll still fuck up plenty, but at least you will learn in a more tangible fashion...

at least that is what i THINK