But it’ll get you a bike repair stand, and that’s a very, very close second.
I just picked up a Feedback Recreational Work Stand so that I could repair the ever-growing fleet of bicycles that seems to be appearing in my garage (currently sitting at seven). For my youngest and I, we’ve been commuting through a construction zone, so our bikes were filthy and definitely in need of a drive train cleaning.
Levi and I got started on his bike. I have to say, working with a bike on a fixed stand is a joy. For so many years (over 15), I’ve done my repairs with the bike on the ground. Massive pain in the hole. Like the time I discovered panniers, or the day I discovered clipless pedals, the bike repair stand was nothing short of revolutionary for how I got to deal with my wheels.
Levi’s bike was dirty and his drive train had some minor rust on it. We worked together to clean his chain and re-lube it, plus we took care to wipe the dirt and grime off of the rest of things, plus took the opportunity to adjust his back brake.
My bike needed a little more work — I was LONG overdue for some new rubber on my wheels (like 5,000km overdue), so I got the opportunity to get that worked out, plus I discovered (surprise, surprise) that my chain is way over-stretched, and needs replacing in a big way.
Here’s where the neighbourhood dynamics (and beer) come into play. When we lived in Ottawa, especially in Orleans, if the garage door was open, that was code for “hey, come on over, let’s have a beer”. My friend Mike MacDonald was the greatest purveyor of this. Frequently, there’d be a call such as “Want an ale?” shouted from across the street followed by a can-shaped missile launched from across the way. Invariably, we’d gab for a while and occasionally, a neighbourhood hang would develop. More on that in another post.
All that to say that the garage door was open today and I saw three of my neighbours (and the son of a fourth) and we all had a good chance to say hello and catch up. Ray, my next door neighbour, stopped by and we shared a couple of beers, and using my new stand, was able to give his bike’s drivetrain a good cleaning, too (Ray works on the base, and we have essentially the same commute to work).
At the end of it all, with all the bikes put back together, I can’t help but feel this sense of satisfaction. More than just about any hobby or other activity I’ve undertaken, there’s something about the feeling of working on or with bikes that is hard to replicate.