(Archive) Bike


This is possibly the most descriptive title I've ever written!

I've always an interest toward cycling. After reading Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", the urge to compete in a triathlon was awakened within me: I was so close too! I ran a marathon in February 2020, check. Swam for a couple years, works as a lifeguard: check. The only thing that was left was cycling. Almost like a reminder, my English professor at TAMS last semester was an avid cyclist, always talking about her 60+ mile rides (I listened with a sort of understanding of the "bonk", and envy).

(Also: I enjoyed her musings on Atwoods "The Handmaid's Tale". Is this the best of all possible worlds? ... yes I said yes I will Yes.)

I felt as if the only thing I was missing for me to get into cycling was a decent bike: buying a thousand plus dollar bike just seems like extreme consumerism to me, but there was no way I could ride on a road with my slow bike (that had a basket attached to the front! I liked it for riding around campus, but it just wasn't suitable for racing). Almost as if a miracle, I stumbled upon a very, very old, racing bike.

It comes all the way from Ohio, where my brother purchased it at a yard sale (for $5) and fixed it up a little bit before I took it back to Texas. It's a Schwinn World Sport, I believe my model is from 1968: they say it was a popular powerhouse road bike back in the day. I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to fix up the bike: some of the thing's I've dealt with include

  • Bent Derailleur Hanger
  • Inner Tube broke
  • Tires too wide (chafing on frame)
  • Brake Pads out of alignment
  • Seat feels like concrete
  • Attaching a water bottle holder
  • Breaking (removing) the chain

I met with our local bike expert at UT (through a church friend), and once again realize I have a lot to learn about fixing things. Although, this process of stuff constantly breaking and getting your hands dirty fixing it is oddly familiar— it reminds me of when I first installed a Linux distribution, always going through the manual and source code, trying to find the source of all these errors.

In a sense, it's a sign that the thing you're working on is truly yours: as you fix and learn more, you become less reliant on harmful fool-proof software/mechanisms, and more autonomous in general. An example: it took me an hour (with the aid of my brother) to learn to how to change out the engine oil in my car. This one hour of work, that was arguably pretty fun, will save me 30 dollars every 6 months by avoiding the mechanic (and will also make me less dependent on others to fix my stuff).

The bike's still busted, but I'm gonna keep working at it. One day I'll be out there with the cool cyclists, going on triple digit rides and seeing everything under the sun (who knows when this day will be)!