For some of us, we are afraid to chase our dreams. For others, we chase them, only to get discouraged when people tell us they are impossible.
For Martyn Ashton, however, “physically impossible” wasn’t a reason to stop chasing his dreams. He took the longest, hardest fall a human can: From international bike trials champion, to a wheelchair. He tried typical parasports. He tried giving up the bike, but to him, biking is in his blood. Martyn needed to get back on a bike like he needed to breathe.
In keeping with my long held desire to learn how to do my own bike maintenance, today I attempted, and from what I can tell succeeded, at changing my brake pads.
1600¥ for a front and rear set of pads, 2000¥ for a colorful set of hex wrenches, and my friends at the park tools blog for advice, and I believe I have reattained the ability to stop my bicycle.
Things I didn’t know going in:
How hard it would be, or how long it would take.
If I had all of the right tools.
How to align the new pads properly.
Whether or not the pads would even fit.
Now that they are installed I know that:
It really doesn’t take any time and you don’t have to take the brakes apart to do it.
You only need like 3 hex wrenches.
Depending on how low your old pads were, you might need to let the brake cable out a bit to accommodate new, unworn pads.
If you’re lucky, letting out the cable is enough and you won’t have to mess with the angle or other alignment stuff.
Things I’m still not sure of:
If I aligned my pads right.
If my bolts are tight enough.
For the last points, I could very well go to a shop and have them take a look, but given how much I’ve been treated like an annoyance at my favorite Giant Store lately, I’ll probably just ride cautiously until I trust my own work.
So now, I can say confidently that I can:
Clean and lube a chain.
Install and adjust brake pads.
Align a rear derailleur.
It’s not a huge list, but it’s a start. I want to know how to maintain and care for my bikes. It just feels good to be able to do.
Today was my second chance to ride with Thunder. I’m blown away yet again.
Compared to my first ride (which you can read about here), this one was emotionally much more tame. It also involved much more mad laughter.
It happened to me over and over again. He would lead me up some beastly climb. I would sweat and pant and growl. On occasion I caught myself actually drooling from concentration and exertion. Once I thought I was going to puke. Then the road would flatten out. The steep hills would soften and we would reach the summit. Before I knew it I was cackling with wanton joy; laughing like a madwoman escaped from her confines.
Thunder laughed, too. I was howling my way up a 17% grade and he starts to laugh at me. “Do you laugh at my exertion?” I asked. “No, I laugh because I’m having fun.”