Good old reliable Ollie -- my steady partner who doesn't cancel date night to stay at work until 10pm.
You know, it's not so bad, this relationship that we've developed over the past... wow, almost three years. We spend time together nearly every day. We support each other. We listen to each other (me usually cursing under my breath at traffic, lately with teeth chattering in the chilly night rides back to the apartment; Ollie squeaking to let me know that her chain needs oil or rattling a bit to remind me to tighten a few of those bolts).
I've been feeling a bit guilty that in the midst of all of the writing and teaching and traveling and volunteering and even going on a few dates (never with other bicycles, though), I've neglected my side of the arrangement, my Sunday bike maintenance ritual. It's been many weeks. I've been distracted. (Are human partners inherently unreliable? Maybe.) Ollie's not really one for flowers or jewelry -- part of why we get along, though I do like flowers -- and I've been wondering about how to make up for my recent weeks of taking my steady, steely partner for granted.
When my erstwhile human companion canceled tonight's date night, I decided it was a good time to give Ollie a little bit of much-needed TLC. With a glass of wine (for each of us) in my system, I took on the challenging task of installing a new pair of fenders I'd ordered from REI -- courtesy of a little holiday cash from Uncle Teddy, a fellow bike enthusiast. Things went much better than last time -- my attempt to install them this weekend ended in much muttering, no fenders being affixed, and the emergency watching of an action film on Netflix to distract myself -- I scrapped the directions and used just about every tool I could find to successfully get those water-repelling suckers on. Along with my newly re-waterproofed rain jacket, the new fenders will hopefully mean I will be significantly less wet while biking around town this season. (What? No, it's not all about me. I am only human, though.)
After a break to watch the State of the Union address with my upstairs neighbors, I continued the makeover, cleaning Ollie's chain, inflating her tires, and patching up some of the chipped paint on her racks. She's looking pretty good, eh? I think I'll keep her around for awhile longer. Yep, most definitely.