I found out how to appreciate the small things in life just by cycling home. No matter what mode of transport you use to get around, whether its a car, motorbike or a bicycle; you want to make sure your transport is in good working condition. I found out I had been cycling with no rear brakes for about 3 weeks. And the only reason I found this out was because someone recommended that I get my brakes bled as part of a service. I did some research in my local area and found a place called The Cycle Surgery. They have a full time mechanic who has all the equipment necessary to bleed brakes and fix anything bicycle related.
The Initial Visit
I popped in to the bike shop after work one night and I asked the mechanic to have a quick scan over my bicycle so he could give me a quote. Within about 30 seconds he had dismantled my rear brakes and then gasped in shock and laughed. He held up what remained of my back brake pads and showed his colleagues. Of course there was more laughter and a bit of sarcasm: “Have you seen sparks flying every time you’ve braked recently?”
So Zabi the mechanic said I should leave the bike with him and he’ll see what he can do. My reply was the second shock they had that evening. I asked him to please put my brakes back together so I can cycle home. I’ll bring it back the following week for a service. Then it was my turn to laugh because 3 men stood there staring at me in total silence. They couldn’t believe I still wanted to cycle with this bike when it was clear there was no brake pads and all the oil had leaked out where something had become loose. Eventually Zabi smiled and said he couldn’t let me leave the shop with my bike in this state. He found something in his workshop so at least I had some form of rear brakes for the next few days.
Easy Does It
After those initial conversations in the bike shop I decided to be a lot more careful with my cycling over the following week. Considering it had rained recently with very slippery manholes along my journey; I decided to take it easy on my route. I rode a little slower, braked a little sooner (mainly with my front brakes), and took some corners at less of an angle than before. I was now extremely aware of how dangerous this potentially was and how easily I could lose control of my bike considering I was only using one set of brakes and the weather conditions were not great.
So the days came and went and finally I dropped my bike back at the shop. Zabi got it booked in and took down my details and gave me a breakdown of costs. (He very wisely suggested I get my chain and cassette replaced at the same time as they were also looking a bit worn).
As Good as New
When I went to pick up my bicycle and Zabi wheeled it out onto the floor, I swear I had one of those moments they do in the movies where everything in your peripheral vision fades into the background and they zoom in on one object in front of you. It even felt like the background music in the shop paused for those first few seconds! I still don’t know exactly what Zabi did but my bike came out looking almost as good as new. I couldn’t stop smiling and thanking him for the everything he had done.
After sorting out the payment and saying goodbye, I set off to cycle home. All I can say is that it was one of the best cycling experiences I’ve had in a very long time. It started raining half way home but that didn’t make my smile fade! The whole way home I just kept thinking how lovely it is to have my ‘old bike’ back. To feel safe on it again; to have renewed faith in its ability to do what I need it to, to enjoy the journey again. My gratitude and appreciation for what Zabi had done was overwhelming.
Some Much Needed ‘Me Time’
I was drenched by the time I arrived back home. I quickly wiped down my bike and decided that after an hours walk to the bike shop and then a half hours cycle home in the rain, my aching muscles deserved a gloriously long soak in a hot epsom salt-infused bubble bath with ginseng and crushed black pepper. (Radox are certainly coming up with some interesting bubble bath aromas these days!)
Appreciation and Gratitude
Each time I get on my bike now to go for a cycle, whether its to work, or the shops or just to go exploring; I smile at the thought of how smooth the cycle is, how well the breaks work and how easy it is to navigate and guide my bike. Everything just works so much better than it did before. This makes me smile. It makes me happy. Finding ways to appreciate the small things in life like having a good cycle or the sun shining, or that you had a good nights sleep, or had a really tasty meal – these are all things that can happen every day to almost everyone. The trick is to make yourself consciously aware of them. And then to appreciate them. If you keep doing this on a daily basis, you will find yourself automatically thinking these happy positive thoughts, and that’s when the magic really starts to happen!
Much gratitude to Zabi at The Cycle Surgery for breathing new life back into my old bike. Thank you too to my guardian angels for keeping me safe on the roads during that crazy time of cycling everywhere with hardly any brakes. Have you had an experience where the brakes have failed? What have you found joy and appreciation in lately? I’d love to hear from you!
Much love, big smiles and safe travels,