When I tell you I’m a bicycling novice, I mean it. The bike is my least favorite component of the triathlon. I have a fear of crashing and I don’t know enough about the bike’s mechanics.
Regarding the fear of crashing, they say there are two kinds of cyclists: those who’ve crashed and those who haven’t crashed yet. I fall into the latter category. When I shared this fear with Rick, my bike mechanic, he proceeded to show me various scars from various crashes. Helpful.
When I fessed up to Rick that I really didn’t know how my bike worked, he proceeded to give me a tutorial. Now that was helpful.
I’d taken my bike in to be serviced because I kept throwing the chain without even shifting gears. I actually don’t shift gears that much, because, again, I really didn’t know how the bike worked. I’ve completed three sprint triathlons by hoping my bike was in a gear that would get me through most of the terrain and basically hoping for the best. That’s not a very good strategy.
So when I picked up my bike, I started asking questions that really telegraphed my complete lack of knowledge. He very kindly put my bike back on the rack and proceeded to talk me through everything. He spun the wheels while I shifted gears so I could see the chain move into the various rings. He also informed me my gear shifter has a trim feature. By pressing it slightly I can move or “trim” the bike’s derailleur. I’d done that light press on the gear shift before, but I thought I was changing gears incorrectly. I had no idea I was trimming. He also kept correcting my pronunciation of derailleur. I didn’t realize it’s a French word; I thought I was saying de-railer. I still can’t tell the difference between de-railer and whatever it was Rick was saying, but c’est la vie.
Rick tells me he’s going to offer a class in changing tires and other routine maintenance issues. I plan to take it because I still have much to learn if I want to become a proficient cyclist.
I felt really embarrassed to admit how much I didn’t know. But Rick was so delighted to help me. After all, bikes are his thing. Of course he wants to talk about them. My take-away: don’t be afraid to ask questions. By doing so, not only do I learn something new but I give someone else the joy of teaching. That’s huge.
I now know enough to use all of the bike’s 24 speeds. Thank goodness I swallowed my pride.