The doctor said that the meniscus in my right knee was kinda dodgy so he recommended that I back off on the running for a bit and take up bicycle riding. So… a couple of days ago I bought a beautiful, new, second-hand, Italian racing bike. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait for my first ride. I pulled the bike, the front wheel, a bottle of water, my new helmet and a few other odds and ends out of my station wagon. Yay. Here we go!
I got off to a bad start. I realized I didn’t know how to fit the front wheel onto the frame. I tried for half an hour. Eventually, I loaded the bike, the wheel, the helmet, the water bottle and the odds and ends back into the car and drove around to where my bike expert mate was working to get a hand. The mate quickly pointed out the problem, got my wheel fitted, gave me a basic lesson in bicycle engineering and got me underway. Because I had blown away an hour I only now had time left for a quick peddle around town. Oh well. It was still great.
After my first ride, I decided to swing by the bicycle shop to buy a new chain. As a new, fully paid up, member of the bike-owning community I proudly strutted into the shop and confidently asked the shop owner for a new chain. The shop owner asked what kind of chain I wanted. I responded that I didn’t really care… just an ordinary chain would be fine.
He asked what kind of bicycle I had. I said that I didn’t really know. I said that it was some kind of old Italian fancy racing road machine. He asked if it had gears. I said that it did. He asked how many gears it had. I said that I didn’t really know. Maybe… eighteen… or twenty-one… or something like that. He said that it was important. He needed to know what kind of gears I had or the chain might not work properly. He tried to explain that the chain goes through the gears.
I was a bit puzzled. I couldn’t really see how the gears effected the chain and couldn’t understand why he was asking so many questions. I just wanted a basic, not too good or too expensive bicycle chain. Eventually, he reached under the counter and pulled out a fancy looking piece of technology all wrapped in exotic looking packaging. I was a bit puzzled. I looked again at the object on the counter and said… “but I want a bike chain.” Then he looked puzzled and responded… “that is a bike chain!”
Then the penny dropped. I said “No, no, no… sorry. I want a chain to chain the bugger up with. You know. A bike chain. Not an… err… bike-chain.”
I think that he thought that I was an idiot.