Monday, August 15, 2011

Bike Tune Up

I was inspired—motivated by Keiko Amano’s blog, “New Bike.” I have been telling myself for the past few weeks that I need to take my bike to fix the flats and see about a tune up. I have not been on my bike in close to two years. For many years it was my main transportation to work; not a far ride, but a good 60 minute ride roundtrip. My body felt good. Sometimes I felt lazy, but afterward I was pleased.

Tuesday morning before work I placed the bike in the back of the truck and off we went—the bike and I. When I unlocked the cord, I had a close look at how much more rust and pollen and rain water had built up. I felt bad at how much I had neglected my bike.  

I also felt a little shift in myself knowing that I would soon be joined with my bike again. I felt as though I was also getting a tune up since this in one area in my life that I let fall off the map—exercise. My body thrives on physical activity and I like the feeling of my legs propelling me forward as my arms and hands hold me up, along with my core. The slight tingling through my legs as I go faster; and then the rhythm that I eventually find; and when no one else is on the trail, I can hear the hum of the wheels on the pavement. 

Reading Keiko’s blog made me realize how much I missed riding my bike and reading about her experience with her new bike and her old childhood memories was the motivation I needed to turn my thoughts into action—thank you, Keiko!

Back at the bike store, I walked my bike into the back end where the repair shop is and waited for assistance. The gentleman asked me, “What can I do for you?”

“I’d like to fix the flats and get a tune up,” I said.

He put the bike up on the rack, poked at a few things and said it would need a new cassette and a new chain, as well as the tune up and tire repair. He then told me the cost and also said a new bike would be about twice as much. I said, “Let’s go ahead and do it.” He said it would probably be done by Friday and they would call when it was ready.

My bike has been with me for 18 years. It’s a Trek Antelope, black frame, with the name of the make and model written in purple. The water bottle holder is also purple. Purple is a color I gravitate toward. My bike and I, we’ve been through a lot together. I remember all those years and the many rides on the trails and off. I remember one time in particular when I was a little more daring and rode down rough terrain in the hills that was both dry dirt and a somewhat steep slope back down. I was going fast, worried that I may lose control and fall if I hit one wrong bump or put the brake on too hard. I could feel the vibration of the rough dirt road all the way through my fingers and arms. What a feeling! I’m glad that I did that a few times because now, I may not have that same sense of meeting danger head on. I didn’t even wear a helmet back them. Now, I wear a helmet—no matter what.

And there was the time I rode up on dirt trails, that were part of a trail system. These roads had a lot of cuts in them where the water flowed through creating a large gaps in the road at certain points. Coming back down, I hit a one of the dips and I went flying forward off my bike. No helmet. Big rock near my head. Luckily, I didn’t hit my head. I was fine, except for the large scrapes on my legs and arms that were bleeding. It hurt and my legs felt sensitive for a week or two. It’s a strange feeling getting thrown from your bike. It happened so fast that it left no time to react. Up one minute, down the next.

Together again. I wanted to test out my bike after the tune up and repair. I picked it up on Friday and planned on riding it on Saturday. I took it on the trails Saturday morning. I started out on the streets until I connected with the trail. At first it was a slow start because there were a lot of walkers and other leisurely bikers. After I reached a certain point on the trail, I had it to myself for a while. It was at this time, that the uncontrollable smile began forming on my lips; when I could feel the wind and hear that hum. I felt like it was just me and my bike, as one—gliding along, with the trees and flowers in our sight as we passed them on the trail. At one point, I gazed to the left—took my eyes off the road for a moment, and then something made me look back. Whoa, almost went right into a big hole. I looked up just in time or I would have ended up in the weeds.

Bike Tune Up. When I see those words: Tune Up—it makes me realize that this is only the beginning, and to some degree, I have more “Tune Up” work to do. Maintaining my well being is an ongoing process and I know this in mind, body, and soul, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy work. I have to continue with the process and remember to get those “Tune Ups” in whatever way that manifests at any given time.


keiko amano said...


I'm so glad that my old post has made a difference. I haven't given up, but I fell down for the third time from my bike two days ago. This time, I hit my already bad knee very hard. I'll recover soon. I used icepack and took Albuprofen or something, but it was difficult to sleep last night. So I limped going to my market yesterday. Good things came out of this is that I made two more new friends, a Turkish and Chinese from Beijing, and talked with other neighbors whom I usually just pass by.

I'm thinking of wearing knee pads and riding with the seat in the lowest point. People say it isn't comfortable that way, but a little discomfort, I can manage. But I don't want to risk more injuries. I came to my new height of spiritual realization. I don't need to teach old self a new trick! I tried to lean on left, but when I pedal my right foot down as I have learned to do, my weight goes to right and bang! I need my feet close to the gound at all time.

I assure you that no matter I have to wear elbow and writst pads and everyting else, I shall ride on!

Rebb said...

Oh, Keiko, I hope your knee heals soon. I think it might hurt more to fall on the hard pavement. That’s great about meeting two new friends. Knee pads sound like a good idea. I’m glad you are not giving up and also glad you realize if you already know how to do it without falling down—your way—why teach the new trick! Good for you! Feet close to the ground—Yes. Happy riding, Keiko.

keiko amano said...


I forgot to comment on your 18 year old bike. Yes, definitely worths to fix it. I met a young man whose beautiful bike was 30 year old, he said. I was impressed. I guess good quality bike just need maintenance, and probably nowadays, they don't make the bike as they used to do.
I can't wait to see some photos of your renovated bike.

Rebb said...

Keiko, I wish I could say I took as good care of my bike as the young man you met. At different transitions in my life, poor Mr. Bike was neglected a little. I kept him in the rain for long periods, finally I covered him up. As a result he has some rusting, but I still think he’s beautiful. At some point, I’ll post a photo in a new blog and tell of our adventures. I agree, they don’t make affordable bikes like they used to. They make great bikes, but many are very expensive. In my case, since my bike works just fine, I see no reason to replace it. Also, since it looks a little old and scratched up, he may not be a prime target for theft. Once some kid laughed at my bike and said I needed a new one! Imagine!

Mostly the renovations are mechanical, bike chains and gears.

Hope you are still having a nice time on your bike.