Friday, November 6, 2009

Daily Maintenance

Bad weather

The winter weather has settled into the Dutch South with a vengeance.

When the morning satellite map looks like this, you know it’s going to be a soggy, windy day.  The wide-scale shows a huge cyclonic mass over England: this band of rain is just one sweeping arm of it.  We used to call them ‘swirlies’, blowing in from the Pacific back in Seattle.

I see this as a good day to stay inside, make a warm drink, and catch up with work and friends.  The windows rattle, the rain beats on the ceiling, but the journey to work only requires a shuffle from the kitchen to the sitting area, honey tea in hand.

Okay, a bit idealistic: I have to tackle the journey to the Albert Heijn every couple of days, and to exercise each afternoon.  The bicycle generally makes short work of the trip, but this has been a week for mechanical failure.

The brake cable broke on Tuesday, requiring a trip to the shop.  DSC08840No sooner had the bike been returned than a gust of wind blew it over, bending the rear wheel lock.  A bit of hammering and a couple of screw fasteners set it right.  Tonight, an adjacent bike blew over into mine, snapping my gear cable.  The bike now pedals in high-high only.

To be honest, I don’t mind much.  Parts are cheap, and I’m enjoying the experience of diagnosing and fixing the bits.  I feel like a cross between Wilbur Wright, setting the wheels and gears straight, and a Russian auto mechanic, unlocking parts with a well-placed hammer blow.

I figure it’s good to get all of the failures behind me while the temperatures are above freezing.  This will be no fun when ice coats the cobblestones and snow dusts the spokes.

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