If you haven’t been following along recently, you may have missed that Bike and Brain has started to give away free bikes. These are not prizes or awards. They are not bought or sold. They are simply handed to another person, free of charge. In fact, the whole interaction is casual. Imagine you are handing your friend the extra burrito you got at Chipotle…….. It’s kind of like that.
So far we have given away two bikes to Yulia and Kay (click for their stories), which was fantastic. There were no issues at all. The bikes were perfect. Although this was a great start, it may have set a stage “too good to be true”. I was not prepared for errors, as I got ready to give away the third bike to Julie.
Julie and I connected in a rather interesting way, which I will share soon. However, we planned to meet on 4/26 at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. That is where she would be working. We planned to meet around 8:30 AM due to busy schedules. I am an early riser, so this was no issue. Plus, there is nothing more serene than an early morning ride. I was pumped.
I spent Saturday night cleaning the frame, checking the bolts, and ensuring everything was ready to go. The bike looked perfect. On Sunday morning I packed a small bag and hopped on the bike ready to meet Julie. The first few pedals were perfect, buttery smooth. I attempted to switch gears as I approached the hill at the end of my block and……. nothing. That’s right, the shifter did not work. My initial reaction was frustration and anger. I thought to myself “Great, the day is ruined. I wont be able to fix this. I am never going to get Julie the bike”. This frustration quickly exacerbated when I got the bike home and realized that I really couldn’t fix the issue with the tools I had. I was raging inside. I texted Julie and told her that I was not going to be able to meet her in the AM. She was completely understandable. In fact, she told me where her booth would be and said I could show up any time before 6:00 PM. Although I was grateful for her flexibility, I was worried that “everything” was, in fact, ruined.
After a quick break to attend church, I brought the bike to my local shop. Of course there was an insane crowd that day so I figured it would be at least a couple of days to get the bike back. I remember fearfully rolling the bike over to the mechanic and holding my breath as he examined the shifter. To my surprise, it was a simple fix and he had it done in 15 minutes. I was shocked.
After the bike was fixed I began to head down to Smorgasburg. The shifter was perfect. I was pumped up again. I rode the bike to 59th street so that I could take the subway the rest of the journey. I noticed that the seat post had shifted as I was riding to the subway. Luckily, I had brought my allen keys with me and started to tighten the bolt. At this point I was at Canal Street, well on my way to Brooklyn. It was tightening well, or so I thought. All of sudden I heard a loud pop. Yep…… the bolt snapped. I could not believe this. I overcame one obstacle to encounter a brick wall. There was absolutely no way to fix this before getting the bike to Julie. I was immediately filled with frustration just like I was a few hours earlier. I was ready to scrap the trip and reschedule.
I took a few minutes to think about the bigger picture. I quickly realized that this was not a big deal. It was a bolt, not a leg. I mean, come on, my reaction was not appropriate for the circumstance. I think what I really wanted was perfection and was going to be disappointed by anything less. After reflecting on the absurdity of my frustration, I thought that this would be a great teaching opportunity. So I continued down to Smorgasburg and presented Julie with the bike. In addition, I got to explain to her what exactly snapped and how to replace it. It was amazing.
At the end of the day another person is riding a bike, which is all that matters. It will be important for me to remember to “not sweat the small stuff”. Let’s keep riding.