Bicycle, 04

My relationship with my bike is changing.

It’s not my bike, I keep having to tell myself. It’s on loan. It’s not mine. But, some part of me sees that bike and knows its mine. When I am sitting around for too long, or when that twitch comes, some part of me yearns for the red mixte I’ve been riding around.

A mixte, I learned, looks like a girls bike–the non-gender-discrimination friendly term being a “step up” bike–but is for either gender. Rather than having the bike frame be a single piece on which the weight of the rider rests, the bar holding the seat pretty much only holds the seat and the cross bars running from the front to the back don’t support that weight at all. Mixtes are usually smaller–as in they don’t usually make them sized for taller people. I, being just above average height, fix on this one great.

Well, mostly great. The frame is a little smaller than I’d like, and if I point my foot on the downward part of the pedaling revolution, sometimes my toe hits the ground. But we don’t talk about that.

I was riding into Boston when the left hand gear cable snapped. I didn’t fear–it could still go, I was just stuck in a lower gear than I liked to ride in. On my way back home, I stopped at the bike shop.

There are a lot of bike shops in the area, but Broadway Bikes is the one to go to–so I’m told. When I told them that my gear shift cable broke, they took some measurements and quickly gave me a new one–with new housing, and an end cap. They filed the housing down and put little metal caps on the end of the tubes. It was pretty cool. They asked if I needed help installing it and I insisted I’d be fine.

And I was.

I was a little unsure of which part of the derailleur the cable slid into, but I looked at another bike and compared. I’d checked out the Sheldon Brown article on changing cables, and that had helped. Most importantly, as I switched the gears and ran the pedals just to make sure, everything worked.

Looking at my working bike, I felt cool.

I felt -really- cool.

I’ve had a rash of feeling cool lately. CJ taught me how to use terminal to log onto IRC. He gave me server space so I can be “persistently logged in.” A showed me how to use terminal to load up a video file. C has been one of my biggest supporters. While she hasn’t actually showed me anything yet, anytime I show up with a new thing that makes me feel cool, she gives me a smile and a hi5.

When CJ taught me how to use terminal, I was so happy, so ecstatic–and overwhelmed with this fact–that I was telling anyone who would listen about it. About how awesome this was. The fact that someone can connect to their computer in that way is pretty amazing to me. When I changed the gear cable, I felt the same way. The fact that people can connect with–modify and change–their bikes like that is also pretty cool. Whenever I do something new with the red bike, I want to tell people. It’s not that I am proud–which I am–but that I want other people to realize how amazing it is that anyone can change their bike.

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