Friday, May 1, 2009


Getting rundown is as inevitable as bonking. It happens to us all. It comes unbidden, in surprising new ways each time it happens.

That we get rundown isn’t the point. It’s like bonking; the only real question is, “What next?”

Why, you plug the A/C adapter in, dontcha? It used to be that all I needed to recharge was a few long days in the saddle; knock out 250 miles or so and my head would be screwed back on straight.

More and more, I’m noticing that if my bike isn’t just right, from a clean chain to perfectly adjusted shifting and brake throw, I’ll be struck with a need to give my ride a thorough going over before I’ll feel ready to ride.

Spending time in the garage has always been soothing for me. IPod cranked, a special mix serenading me, easing my concentration, I’ll happily putter for hours on a weekend afternoon, cleaning bikes, parts, making adjustments or upgrades.

Lately, I think I’ve been experiencing the male equivalent to nesting. I’ve got years of accumulated parts and until recently they were stashed in boxes with no real organization. I knew where things were, but that was only true if a remembered I had them. I forgot about tons of stuff.

One day I opened up a little organizer the better half brought home for me. Suddenly, the little plastic dividers weren’t just more work, but rather a means to serenity, a way to find calm in a mountain of unused stuff.

It became a game of Concentration. I reunited a set of titanium water bottle bolts (Wow, a complete set of four?) and then discovered a cash of batteries for bike computers I thought no longer worked (So maybe they did take four years to dry out). Rather than just wasting my time sorting things when I could be doing real work—like truing a wheel—it became therapeutic and each emptied cardboard box felt nearly as good as a post-ride Stella.

With an array of ordered nooks, dividers and containers, it feels like I’ve got more now, and I’ve discovered a number of items I can spare for friends or keep around to start whole new projects.


Oli said...

Good stuff,Padraig! I can totally relate to that need for order, and the satisfaction of achieving it.

Cheers, Oli

New Zealand

B-Bike-G said...

Have a look at a teammates organization scheme - both effective and style-e.


HELL(cat) ON WHEELS said...

Thank God you posted this... we too, have a garage full of cardboard boxes full of years of "parts". I have tried to encourage "him" to just unpack/organize one box a week, to no avail. He lives and dies by this blog... so I'm planning on telling him that according to BKW, carboard boxes are extremely UN-PRO!! :)

randal hollis said...

ehh..i guess i got some cleaning to do:)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. Organizing stuff is VERY therapeutic, as you say. Just wish I had more bike stuff to organize!

Padraig said...

I must admit that it's not really in my nature to spend time organizing and cleaning out. I'd much rather true a wheel.

As for something I wrote being used to encourage someone, anyone, to do some cleaning up, oh golly. That's an outcome I'd never dreamt and leaves me ... rather squeamish.

Here's to spending time in whatever way brings you peace.

travkat said...

truly blissful! I find myself organizing a lot these days to decompress. wonderful post.

thejakesnakes said...

Similarly, I love spending time tinkering with the fit of my bike.
By taking account of where I'm making adjustments and remembering what helped and what didn't, the progress of achieving a better fit gives me peace.

HELL(cat) ON WHEELS said...

LOL.. no worries on the "squeamish" he and I had a good laugh about it this weekend... and still the boxes sit...but we had a great ride on Saturday! :)