Oh my, I have been remiss about making my blog entries. I’ve not written here in over a month. Well, I have a very good excuse, I started a new job. But that’s not what I want to write about today. I’d rather talk about bicycling. In fact, it is perhaps the new job that makes me want to focus on achieving an appropriate work/life balance that has finally pushed me to do what I have to do to get my bike road-ready.

A little background. I’ve ridden all my life. But not hard-core, I’m so cool because I do everything on my bicycle that you can’t talk to me about cycling without a hint of mockery because of your knowledge doesn’t measure up to mine. There was a time when I really did do everything on my bicycle. I mean, I have often used my bicycle as a primary form of education, at periods in high school, college, and even while working in NYC, I used to commute via bicycle to work. I always found being on a bicycle to create a sense of freedom, a release from the every day stresses.

I like riding distances too. In 2003 I did the New York to Boston AIDSride, a 450-mile, 4 day bike ride. It was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m not like a racer, I ride. I can go fast, but I try to avoid hills, and maybe my technique and gadgets aren’t the best. I always left that part of the biking culture on the side. Until now. My bicycle has been gathering dust for the three years since we moved here, and it was time that I stepped-up and learned how to take care of it myself.

Well, with a little help from my boyfriend. We removed and cleaned the rear cogs and drive train, clean the chain (draping it into an acetone bath so as not to have to take it off), and we cleaned the front drive train. OK, but I didn’t get it all back the same way I took it apart.

I used Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, although I found some of the instructions and graphics to be lacking detail. His images, though, just were not clear enough. I even still have the original user manuals for both the front and rear drive train, but the images are too small. so I had to start looking around the Internet. How the chain system works

The best image I’ve found thus far is from the blog Proporzione Divina, a post called Fixies are Impractical, Perverse Throwbacks, ironically about the bike culture that doesn’t need drive trains and derailleurs.

Now at least I can see what it is supposed to look like, I plan to get it up and riding by this weekend. And I have big plans. I am going to ride à la 8e édition du”Cycltour du Léman” on 29 May, a 180 km ride around Lac Léman. I’m really excited, about discovering the kind of cycling events here in Swiss Romande like those I used to participate in when living in New York. But just to get back on the saddle and peddling along such lovely scenery. It’s been a while, and even though I’m pretty fit right now, I don’t expect to do this kind of distance these days without a fair amount of knee pain, not to mention saddle sores. Ah, saddle sores: it’s been a while.

I’ll let you know if it all comes together this weekend. I do need a new helmet, new tires, and new shoes, but one thing at a time. I just got to get that chain to go around the cogs.