Monday, November 2, 2009

Patch Kit Zen

I've been in some tough deadlines at work, so no posts late October. I've been enjoying riding in the cool autumn weather, enjoying the color, the wet leaf debris on the shoulder not so much, but hey, can't have it all.

Here's a bicycling koan (of uncertain provenance) that has seen a lot of coverage on the Web:

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, 'nam myoho renge kyo.'" The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings." The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."

Why do I post this? It came to mind late last week. I had done my usual morning preparations, (made breakfast, made coffee, made and packed lunch, packed my change of clothes,) and, as I was just ready to go out the door, loading my backpack/laptop bag into the other pannier, noticed that my rear tire was flat. I cursed under my breath, because I should have seen it the first thing, but wasn't paying attention. I considered changing clothes and driving in to work for no more than 2 seconds, and then got my agitation under control and realized that what I had to do was to do the very best job of fixing that tire that I could.

So I took my time and was careful. No obvious leaks, no hissing. A slow leak. Putting it in the kitchen sink, no leaks the first pass. Added a little more air, passed it slowly through the water, and turned up the very slow leak (about 1 small bubble every three seconds.) Put a peel-n-stick on it, looked for but couldn't find any persistent hazard in the casing, aired it up, got my kit back together, made it to the office only about 20 minutes late.

The payoff? At the end of the day, ready to ride back home, the tire was still rock-hard. I just love beating a leak and (especially) not having to go back and revisit it.

1 comment:

Thom said...

Good for you. I'm a fellow tall bike commuter (6' 7"), but when my front derailer was stuck this morning and was unable to fix it in 20 minutes, I gave up and drove in.