Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty

Back in High School I took the ASVAB test and it showed that I was mechanically inclined, which is probably accurate as I always like to tinker with things plus it is an official gubment test so it has to be correct because the gubment wouldn't mislead us. The results of the test lead me to joining the Marines as an F/A-18 Jet Mechanic (MOS 6017). For the most part I really enjoyed it as it was both challenging and rewarding but the thing about the military in general and the Marines specifically, is that everything has a manual or set of instructions to follow on how to do anything from removing the engine from a jet aircraft to how to lace your boots (yes there really is a right and wrong way to lace boots according to Uncle Sam). Give me a manual, set of directions or a napkin with a loose set of steps scribbled on it and I can probably accomplish the task at hand but throw a wrench at me, point at something and say "fix it" and all the mechanical aptitude amounts to is that I will figure out the fastest way to bugger it up but good. OK, so I'm not that bad in reality but it makes for better story telling this way...


The early onset of warmer weather has meant that bikes have been flying out of Cycle Works much sooner than on normal years, not a bad thing really, but that also means that more need to be built. So yesterday we had a bike building party, it's a bike nerd thing, and the only set of instructions we could find were those for ordering pizza and Rick had that well in hand, so the rest of us just had to wing it.


Fortunately for me and probably unfortunately for him, I got paired up with Kyle; the guy knows how to build some bikes and subsequently fix things someone else screws up whilst attempting to build bikes. He was in charge of pretty much everything shifting and wheel-ish and I was relegated to reflectors, pedals, stems, handlebars, brakes and lubing and inserting the seat stick. A job of the utmost importance really, if you don't think so try standing for the entire ride next time you go out, those seat sticks are really handy to have.


Andy was stuck next to us and commented that I made a good social media person because I talk a lot... I think it was his nicer way of telling me to shut up and get to work, that guy has management written all over him.


Pam made sure things kept moving by unpacking bikes and setting them on work stands.


Marty and company were smart and setup way in the back away from all of the tom foolery that was going on in the front so they could get down to business and start pumping out the bicycles.


There is a phrase "the usual suspects" that is used to describe when a person or thing is present at a place you would expect to see it or them. Well in this case the idiom holds even more meaning, or at least the suspect part, since the person depicted here; whom I cannot name or show clearly due the fact that they swear they are in the Witness Protection Program but who can be frequently seen building bikes in that particular area of that particular business, was there as well. Although if asked I wouldn't be able to confirm or deny that they were actually there at all or that I even knew them or if I was or wasn't the person to take the picture of the person of whom I have no recollection of... perhaps I've already said too much.


And then there was me, looking like I know what I'm doing but actually just trying to figure out how to get the wrench unstuck before anyone notices. Timing on this picture was perfect actually...



...because as soon as the pizza and beer showed up, my union butt was on an OSHA mandated break.


After being told that the break was over, I feigned a case of the stupids from ingesting too much bike grease and pneumatic tire fluid with my pizza and was all like "hey, this potato peeler isn't working anymore boss" until they decided it was maybe best if I just didn't touch anything, ever.

Just like that my bike building career had ended as soon as it had begun. 'Twas a great time hanging out with some of the Cycle Works crew I don't normally get to spend much time with other than a casual "hi" in passing. I might not have built the most bikes of the group but I annoyed some and entertained others for sure and at the end of the day, that's something... right?

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