Wednesday, 29 July 2015

In which I do not do maintainance

Cycling as sport is so ingrained in the UK that the idea you might own a bike solely as a means of transport is inconceivable to many. If you do want to use a bike to - controversial! - get from one place to another, then you must be an Enthusiast.

I myself very much enjoy riding a bike, especially downhill. And I am pretty enthusiastic about enabling everyone to enjoy a cheap, fast, healthy, non-polluting mode of transport. I reckon more cycling would solve a lot of problems.

But that doesn't mean that I care very much about bikes, or maintaining them. I will listen with great interest as someone explains to me how a gearing system works, but I will also read with great interest about the resignalling of the London Underground District and Circle lines. That doesn't mean I want to fix it myself!

Multiple well-meaning employees at local bike businesses told me not to get a Dutch bike because the completely enclosed gearing system is harder to maintain. I wouldn't be able fix it myself when it broke. Like a car - or a pair of leather shoes - I'd have to take it to an expert to patch up for me. Did they not want me to pay them money in exchange for goods and/or services? Had I misunderstood what a business was?

One year on, my chain has never fallen off. I have never got oil on my long skirts, coats or trousers. The gears have never got stuck. I've never had to clean dirt out, or put oil in. At some point soon, I will pay for an annual service. And it will have been worth it, to have a means of transport that requires me only to be Enthusiastic enough to sit on it and pedal.

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