One of the reoccurring themes in our “origin stories” project is the willingness of people to school us in the sometimes confusing world of gears. Most of my mentors modeled a true love for the trade when they explained, probably not for the first time, some particularly complex concept. Sharing your passion for something –be it gears, model trains, baseball, or any other hobby- benefits both the teacher and the student.
Long before I knew how to spell “gear” I was fascinated by bicycles. A timid kid like me had a difficult time learning to ride without training wheels but eventually I mastered the task and went on to tinker with a series of garage sale bicycles. I did not get a brand new bike until I was in my mid-twenties; my Dad believed in the 38 pound bicycle rule (a 38 pound bike doesn’t need a lock and chain while a 20 pound bike needs at least 18 pounds of security devices; therefore it is silly to buy a nice bike that would get stolen.)
I have not ridden a bike in years but I believe no child should be bikeless during the summer. To that end, I bought three bikes at a garage sale [total cost $8; thanks Dad] to use as props for a class on bicycle maintenance and adjustment I will be teaching at our local after school program. As part of this effort the kids will get their hands on tools and learn a few important mantras like “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”
Three children will leave the class with ratty but serviceable bicycles. If you are ever asked to help kids acquire skills that they can use the rest of their lives, please say yes. I know that I will be taking away more joy from that class than $8 and some elbow grease could ever buy elsewhere.
The title of today’s blog is from Scott Miller and the Commonwealth’s “For Jack Tymon.” Give it a listen if you enjoy roots rock music.