in an effort to be a little more self-sufficient than wailing: "it hurts/i'm not strong enough/oh my god, look how much grease i am now covered in?" i signed up for a women's bike maintenance clinic.
it turns out that it really is easier to get someone else who fits the gender role of 'person on white horse/frame, in a suit of armour/spandex' to do anything pertaining to calipers, cranks and carbon fibre.
like most academics with advanced degrees, i already know how to change a tube, it's just that i'm not actually very good at it- and by "good", i mean efficient (by which i mean "fast"). and by that, i mean after about 45 minutes i emerge coated in a sheen of black grease, entering the first phase of carpal tunnel syndrome, clutching an underinflated tyre.
really, i was hoping to learn a short cut, but apparently, like everything else in cardiovascular life, to get better means doing it more- fortunately, this will not be a problem i run or ride into. and so the evening proceeded, interspersed with many four letter words, and the constant refrain "this is so much easier to do on a mountain bike".
perhaps the best, and most defining part of having a group of women gathering together in order to learn and then practice things is that anything applied- or physically difficult- means unconditional, judgement-free and most importantly "group" effort.
followed by an endless supply of hors d'oeuvres and wine.