Monday, October 10, 2011

32 spokes.

from the waning golden light on the back porch amid hopeful mosquitoes and the smell of liquid cement and acetone and rags, i looked long and hard at the rim, and committed. standing shirtless in white socks and birkenstocks and running shorts, i quietly refuse all logic and dive, headlong as usual, into something more mythical than practical. this is usually the way it goes.

and, as usual, the doubter calls out from the kitchen, checking my progress, laughing at my foolishness, hoping i don't glue myself to a stretcher.

i'm starting tubulars.

tubulars are tires from the days of yore, the earliest pneumatic tire design, and they are fussy. like wine, they are as much about tradition as they are about science. there is heated and endless debate about process and result. they have pros and cons and no one can agree on which ones are true. people swear by them. people get injured by them. people fix them. people flat them. people win on them. there's a tube sewn inside a casing with a tire laminated to the top. it's like a football on a bicycle wheel. it's supposed to stay there via chemical adhesive bond. glue. i'm going to rail 20mph turns on contact cement.

of course, i poured more wine. i had already finished a beer. this is a meditative process.

many hours and glue layers later, i was still in my funny outfit, though i had added an apron, now in the kitchen, on the counter, adding more glue. i was being careful not to miss a spot. i was wrestling with the one major flaw that will screw up any tubular tire glue job: impatience. i wanted to get another coat on the tire. mount the tire tonight. align it in the rim bed and let it seat and bond for the next couple of days. inflate it and enjoy the most phenomenal road riding tire system ever. but i don't have a bike. and the work week starts tomorrow. and we are out of wine.

so i was in the kitchen, gluing, and my lady friend, the doubter, responding to my question as to whether her ironman-triathlete-friend rode tubulars, stated matter-of-factly: no one rides tubulars.

thankfully, i am no one.

furthermore, i asked, somewhat dejectedly, why she always has to doubt the things i do. she said that she doesn't doubt, i just like to do complicated things and she doesn't have time for complicated things; she has enough complicated things going on otherwise. that got me to thinking. of course, complicated things are what get me excited. i like to figure things out. i like to fix and refurbish things. i like to pursue mythical things and steep myself in them. i like to love and make art and write (bad) poetry and take pictures and express and learn about stuff and understand systems so that i can adjust them. i like to have to glue my tires on. i thought, further, about complicated things. i wondered if i was a complicated thing. i wondered if my life was too simple, so i sought out complication in hopes of retaining some kind of validity. i don't think so. i don't think i have time for that. i think the things that i do that are complicated are done in simple ways, to the best of my ability. i think beauty is a complicated thing, and i think i've denied myself too much of it, and i'm sliding back into it, one goopy, stringy, sticky step at a time. i'm sure it'll be worth it, eventually. the first little whiles are always messy and steep.

so here's to being unnecessarily complicated, if only in the pursuit of something great. here's to sticking it out, process and result, just to see something through to the end. simple.

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