Cloistered With the Bike


I finally got around to changing the engine oil and filter on Endurance today, she was badly overdue and I was feeling guilty for not getting to it sooner. In addition to that routine job, I’m tinkering with the sidestand – the thing you’d call a kickstand on a bicycle.

The sidestand had loosened up during our ride to Montana last August and was letting the bike lean over farther than normal. With all our gear piled on it, the lean angle looked kinda scary. It held up okay during the ride, though.

My shop is small, only 8 x 15 feet. It’s crowded, but there’s enough space to work on one bike at a time. All my tools are there and it’s brightly lit and heated.

I put in RaceDeck tiles a few years ago which really helps. The wall behind the main workbench has photos from past rides and a U.S. map with our cross-country routes highlighted.

Even though I’m not mechanically inclined, I get satisfaction from working on the motorcycles. (The bicycles, too, come to think of it.) Even something as simple as changing the oil is gratifying; you feel closer to the machine and a little more competent by doing the job yourself. And, as my good friend and mechanical wizard Andrew Virzi says, “it just seems to ride better after you’ve changed the oil.”

And Cody is always ready to help.
And Cody is always ready to help.

Wrenching in the workshop reminds me of a scriptorium – the workroom in which medieval monks copied and bound their books. I lay out the tools, throw in a CD, open a Mountain Dew or Arizona Ice Tea, and get to work. When I’m cloistered in the workshop, the day passes quickly.

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