Northern Star journalist and Lismore Echo columnist, Alison Paterson.
Northern Star journalist and Lismore Echo columnist, Alison Paterson. Alison Paterson

Keeping bike in good order is good for the marriage

KNOWING how to fix your own bike when things go wrong is essential.

Good advice, passed on by more experienced cyclists when I had a flat tyre out the back-of- beyond one winter morning a few years ago.

There I was, bike upside down (in the universal language of cycling, this is second to only lying underneath it as an indication you need assistance) and my repair kit out with lever and spare inner tube in hand ready to pry off the front tyre, when bless them, a small group of riders stopped to help.

Within seconds they had whipped the tyre off, replaced the tube, pumped it up to full pressure and had me back on the road.

Bless them.

It was a pleasure to buy them coffee and cake at the café a few kilometres down the road when I finally arrived.

However, while I'm handy on a few things, bicycles, alas are not one of them.

Although I can follow a complex recipe with confidence, happily grow flowers and vegetables from seed and doctor my chooks, despite carefully reading and following instructions I have generally failed to manage any maintenance of any of my bicycles, apart from keeping air in tyres, recharging lights and the bike computer and keeping the frame clean.

In fact, sometimes remembering the code for my bike lock is so bad the local cycling shop has then reordered so I don't need to walk home and get the bolt-cutters everything time I have a brain-fade.

The esoteric mysteries of tube and tyre replacement, chain de-glunking and gear calibrating are way beyond me.

Any attempts end in tears, grease from my fingertips to hairline and a great gnashing of teeth.

I'm proud to support the bike shop industry when it comes to repairs and servicing which many other riders do as second nature.

For the basic regular maintenance, enter the Kiltman whose patience, skills and knowledge of all things mechanical keeps me on the road and in good repair.

Not to mention my sanity.

My husband knows if he keeps my bikes in good order, I'll have to bake his favourite cakes.

And it's a good reminder that we can't be good at everything and there is no shame in asking for help.

Win-win all round.

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