Family does not come first. The bike does.
It’s Sunday afternoon, the snow is rapidly melting, I have new tires and a chain, drop cloth is laid out, bike stand is set, tools are prepped like an OR nurse assisting a Surgeon – I am ready for a few hours of blissful and rapturous spring tune-up of my Colnago steed. I slide on the shop apron, mount the bike onto the repair stand and look for the master link to remove the chain. The rest of the world disappears. Did something bad happen in Japan? Was there something going on in Libya? Did my boss of 11 years just quit? I still hear CBC’s Rex Murphy mumbling in the background doing cross-country checkup, but it’s nothing more than ambiance for the main event. Metal, rubber, grease, total focus and complete relaxation envelope me. I locate the link; release the lock and slip off the chain. A quick matchup to the new one confirms it’s stretched about ½ a link length. Time to change but I’ll get away without having to swap the cassette, this time. The Surgeon deftly selects his instrument and shortens the chain. Reattaching the master link he slips the new chain smoothly through the derailleur around the cassette and over the front sprocket. A quick snap together of the master link and the job is done.
On to the new rubber. As I sit cross legged, cradling the feather light and oh-so-sexy Kysrium SL front wheel in my lap, I’m becoming vaguely aware of a shadow and a presence looming over my rapturous state. It’s Noreen and, like me, she’s also rock’n her apron, also has grease and flour on her mind, and she needs butter. Unlike me she is not the Surgeon. She starts first, never organizes, and digs madly around the kitchen magically producing all manner of delectable delights out of complete chaos. And now she needs butter, right now. Thusly ensues a vigorous debate about the merits of our respective hobbies, and who should be dispatched for the said butter. Naturally I articulately and eloquently expound on the superior virtues of my cycling passion. It is to no avail. She pulls trump card. While my hobbie feeds my heart and soul, hers literally feeds me. My apron comes off. There’s still time to finish the tune-up and fresh puffed wheat cake brings suitable consolation.