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)