Bicycle Maintenance and Nothing About Zen
I leave my bicycle outside a lot. Exposing a bike to the rainy nights and dewy mornings isn't so good for it. Recently my chain had become significantly rusty and begun to grind and squeak. It was a mess, but cleaning and oiling a chain can be a pain in the butt. It's a simple maintenance task to put off for a procrastinator like me.
This week I splurged on a bicycle repair stand. It holds the bike securely up off the ground, so you can work on it more comfortably. You can bring the crankset all the way up to eye-level and rotate the whole assembly 90 degrees in either direction if needed. This arrangement makes a huge difference when working on a bicycle.
With a proper stand, once choresome maintenance tasks are not only easier, but they're actually enjoyable too. Once you have the bike in a manageable position, there's something relaxing about working on such a simple machine. You can understand how it works just by looking it over carefully. And you can work on it with your hands directly. A bicycle is dimensional and physical, which is a nice change of pace from programming computers, which is a largely abstract and conceptual pursuit.
My bike chain is now rust-free and running smooth and quiet. The gears are tuned to shift smoothly. The breaks are centered and responsive. The tires are each inflated to exactly 95 PSI. I'm looking around for more things to adjust, fix, tune, and tweak for the fun of it, but a bicycle is a simple machine. There's only so much to be done.