Father knows best

17 06 2011

As a kid working on my bike I leaned heavy on the know-how of my Dad.

At the time, I didn’t think much about the lessons I was learning as he showed me how to fix my bike but they went far beyond simply tuning up my bike.

The stickers tell the story: Dad's bike wrenching goes way back

Thinking back I took away a lot from those times. Here’s some of the things I learned:

Take it easy, don’t force it: Impatience and hasty actions can leave you sorry in the end–be it with a cross-threaded bolt, a stripped axle or  a strained friendship. Think before you do things.

Show some respect: Dad had everything in its place, so he could find it when he needed it. Throwing a wrench in the wrong drawer would not only make him mad but also inevitably be the wrench I needed the next time I was in the workshop (and one I couldn’t find because I was so careless  before).

Don’t be afraid to get a  little help when you need it: As a scrawny kid I sometimes had a tough time budging tight allen bolts. To help me out my dad went to work and got a pipe made up that would neatly fit over an allen key to give me more leverage. He called it “The persuader”. If I had tough bolt to loosen, I called in the persuader.

Sometimes you have to improvise: Grabbing something from the junk drawer to make a shim or creating a make-shift solution out of some old parts was something that Dad was always ready to do. Figuring it out was half the fun, “Wait a minute, this might work…”

It’s not about the bike: All that time we spent in that workshop was about a lot more than just patching tubes or replacing broken parts. We weren’t just building bikes, we were building a shared experience that meant more than I think we both realized at the time. A lot of good times and good memories.

Thanks Dad, for showing me the way.

(For more on my Dad, check out The best coach/mechanic I could ask for)



4 responses

18 06 2011

yep, same here. my pop taught me the ways of the workshop, and showed me how to use the tools that my grandfather and great grandfather had passed down to us.

BMX was exciting to him, because in the 70’s everything was so wide open, and no idea was a bad one… yet. . he got me onto a freewheel and handbrake early, and even helped me lace up a multi-speed hub to a wheel.

my dad is 86 now, was recently inducted into the coast guard hall of honor, and is still an active aviator (fixed wing and rotor). he has a penchant for restoring english 3 speed bicycles, and is starting to get into chicago-made schwinns.

Happy Father’s Day to all the cool dad’s out there!

18 06 2011

Props to your pop on achieving coasty honor status.

18 06 2011

Nice write up! It’s real nice to read someone’s comment with respect and that is obviously full of endearment (referring to the term pop) cause that’s how I refer to mine.

My pop has always lived by a few simple principles.
If you say it…mean it
If you mean it…do it
If you do it…live it
if you live it…say it

One of the best things my pop taught me was “if you’re going do any thing , do it with your best effort and if possible get the job done right the first time because, you’ll have to do it over .”

20 06 2011

Club Home Boy,haha.I still have my membership card that expired in 1988.

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