Monday, November 26, 2012

Family Learning

I don't know everything.

There. I said it. I work really hard to overcome the feeling that I should know everything because it's crazypants. I am also a slow learner. Ask me how long it took me to learn that I didn't have to know everything and that no one expected me to know everything...

I am also biker.

We have two kids and no car so we are heavy users of public transit and bike lanes. I bike to work all year long.  The exercise has become necessary to my mental health in the winter and to my physical health since I sit at desk all day. I've been doing this for about three years but I have never tuned my bike myself except to apply oil to the chain weekly during the salty season. I've always spent $50.00 - $70.00 at a local bike shop to get it tuned.  As someone who seems to pride herself in making from scratch - it was a bit embarrassing that I didn't know what to do with my bike.

When I blew a flat last week I knew that it was time for me to learn how to take care of my machine.  I had to wait a week before I had the time to learn.  Jason knows how to do all these sorts of things but I have a really slow learning brain and I get annoyed and impatient with him while he tries to help me. It makes us both happier when I seek help elsewhere.

I really don't want Fenner and Marlowe to think I know everything - the pressure shakes me up. I want them to know how and whom to ask for help and what better way than to show them.  Fenner came with me to Bikesauce as an experiment in family learning. It could have been a disaster but instead we both learned how to change my tire and break pads with charm and dignity, in large part due to the amazing Bikesauce team.

Turns out Fenner is a wizard at finding the holes in the tube, using an allen key and pumping up tires. Turns out that I am a lot more patient with folks teaching me how to do stuff who aren't my family.

The sign doesn't lie, Bikesauce is a completely volunteer run, donation based organization. We got there after lunch and their cook had just finished putting out a huge spread for the volunteers and first timers like Fenner and I.
That craggy Dude is Andrew, he taught Fenner and I how to use bike levers to remove my tire from the wheel. Then he talked Fenner through using a standing bike pump to pump up my old tube and find the leak. He was practicing the Oven Mitt Challenge on her.

The sweet faced Dude in the white T-Shirt here is Jonathan and he talked Fenner and I through removing and replacing my well worn break pads on my bike.

Photo credit: Fenner
That's when we discovered her mad skillz with an Allen key.  We were both so proud of ourselves by the end of this adventure. She is a fantastic partner in crime, it's amazing how much pain can be avoided when your PIC tells you she's hungry and thirsty BEFORE she's having a temper tantrum.

After a lunch break, Fenner took my camera on a tour of the small but efficiently used space.  She was enamoured with all the wheels hanging from the ceiling.

Wheels by Fenner
I was enamoured by the fact that they had all the tools and equipment we needed to replace - tubes, break pads, anything.
While we were there we saw at least a dozen different folks bring their bikes in, fix them up and leave.
Brad here seemed to be managing the shop on Saturday and made sure that we had everything we needed, including food.
Cost? $20.00 for materials and a donation for the support. I paid $40.00 which was less than I pay at MEC for a tune up. It was a great way to learn how to fix my own bike and by the end of it Fenner knew how to ask how to use different tools in an assertive way.

A great way to spend an afternoon with Fenner too.


Tammy Rogers said...

I don't like to use this term but I have to say it, "That was Awesomesauce!"

Jennifer Rider said...

what a fabulous concept.

the best part of my day... said...

Ummmmm, Is Jonathan single? Help a single girl out and inquire? I feel my non - existent bike needs a tune-up ;-).

JenHendriks said...

Well played Rogers, well played!

JenHendriks said...

It's amazing! I hope it stays around for a long time!

Keith Wynn said...

I've been wanting to get into biking lately. This has inspired me!!

JenHendriks said...

It is a great way to get around a city. You live in a warm state too so it would be even easier! I'm negotiating the winter rides right now - it's great to have a bit of a challenge.