Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ten Speed Relationships

I bought an old ten-speed bike at a yard sale for ten dollars yesterday. I’ve been wanting a road bike for a while but I just don’t have the budget right now for what would be considered a decent entry level bike (been told I’d need at least an aluminum frame with carbon forks and stays - well over $1,000). My new bike is steel. And, it’s in my budget. I just know that riding on it will be different than my huge-tired, shock-absorbing (hence more work with less speed) mountain bike.

The whole bike thing got me to thinking about this bike as a metaphor for relationships.

My retro, red Ross roadbike.

We have all been in love relationships that can be like this bike. First there’s that initial choice of getting the bike or getting into a relationship. The desire has to be there. It was late in the day (in yard sale terms) when I spied it on the side of the road amongst the other treasures (or junk) that these people were selling. I couldn’t even tell you what else they had there - just that there was a lot of stuff. My eyes went right to this bike. How many other people passed it over? What didn’t they see in it that I did? Why was I seeing such potential?

Right off, the smooth, red finish of this Ross attracted me to it. When you see someone for the first time, we have (or don’t have) an attraction. I think that it is really important to have that physical attraction in a relationship. Next, I noticed that the frame was straight and solid. What a perfect thing to base everything on!

With closer inspection, I could see some slight rust on the chain and here and there. That’s probably because it hasn’t had any TLC in a little while. But, that’s purely cosmetic. Adds character if it doesn’t get scrubbed off. And, I'm good at giving TLC.

The brakes didn’t work, though they were intact. But the pads still looked and felt fine. Probably just some cables then that need to be replaced. Relationship wise? Maybe it’s with someone that hasn’t put on the brakes in a while to take time out to be in a solid relationship? Sometimes we ride from relationship to relationship. Always looking, always seeking. When we finally get in our mind that we’re in a good thing, we can gently apply the brakes and stay for a good, long while.

The walls of the tires had dry rot on them and they were basically flat. But, when we put air in them at the bike shop I took it to, they filled right up and stayed filled allowing me to test ride it. Like the first few dates perhaps? All might not be perfect, but you can go for a good ride if it does work…and that’s the journey of life together. The wheels were almost true and the rims didn’t seem to have any flat spots. That’s what makes a person go. Important to be capable of moving ahead in life without too many bumps – or at least going ahead smoothly through them.

The shifters and derailleurs were all quality, known parts and they seemed to work fine. When each person in a relationship has experiences that can add to each other’s lives and the way they deal with things, I see that as positive. To have the ability to shift or work through things in varying degrees of speed is good – well, especially just having the potential for it there.

The pedals on my new bike were fine by old pedal standards. What comes on most normal-run-of-the-mill bikes. I’m choosing to put on new $60 pedals that I can just clip my bike shoes into. I had the same ones on my mountain bike when I got that 7 or 8 years ago. I had taken them off because they seemed so different. I had been used to riding with cages for almost 20 years instead of clips. But, I was finding as of late, the cages on my mountain bike weren’t working for me either like they had in the past. My shoes would get caught on the pedals as I’d go in and out. I didn’t have the same pedal stroke power like I had with the clips. So, I put the clip pedals back on my mountain bike yesterday too. It’s going to take a bit to get used to riding with them. But, like in relationships, if one type isn’t working for you (why are we always drawn to the same type of person?), why not try something completely different?

So, overall, I have a new-old bike that I’m really excited about. The things it needs to make it decent are fairly minor, but important. That’s talking and communication. I have a great looking frame as a base that is solid and easy on the eyes. That’s like having an attractive woman in my life who is together and is my friend first and foremost. Now, I’m ready for the ride.

Love, loss, hope and new love

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