“Is this the tedious part?” I stopped spinning the black spokes in the truing stand and looked over at my friend Jude.
“Some people think so,” she responded.
“I’m feeling like it’s kind of zen.”
“Yeah, you do a lot of thinking when you build a wheel. It’s easy to start making comparisons between how balancing a wheel is like balancing your life.”
Jude, a wheel builder extraordinaire (just look at the photo above) and one of Under Solen’s longtime supporters, was helping me build my first wheel. A lover of biking, I am far from being anywhere close to a bike mechanic, and when the old Peugeot needed an overhaul, I asked Jude if I could take part in the process, wheel building and all. Now let’s get one thing straight, there’s no way I would have been able to build this wheel without Jude jumping in at some key points in the process and taking over. But I did manage to true the whole thing.
Tighten and loosen. Spin the wheel. Find the unbalanced spot. Tighten and loosen.
The technical rhythm was a welcomed getaway from my normal routine which most of the time entails hours in front of the computer. I pondered what Jude said, that you could easily draw a comparison between balancing a wheel and balancing your life.
We could all use a little more balance, and often it’s simply the small adjustments that help us get there. Taking a look at our everyday and figuring out what tiny steps we can take that will help us live better with ourselves, our friends and our environment.
Without those small adjustments, the bike wheel quickly turns to spaghetti, the rim breaks, and your riding efforts fail. Because we live in an interconnected world life can go down the same path: we skip over the necessary everyday changes and soon the lack of small alterations ends up having larger, more drastic effects.
We forget to bring the reusable bag, one more plastic bag makes its way into the waste stream and soon everyone is faced with the daunting issue of how to deal with plastic pollution in our oceans.
We skip out on our morning run, choosing to stay glued to the computer instead, and we miss out on a few moments of celebration of a wooded trail. Soon that one missed morning run turns to a daily routine of staying indoors and we forget that we need to protect the places we love.
We forget to say a simple thank you to the people who support us and soon we become distanced.
But the small steps that keep us balanced are simple, even easy. We just have to be conscious about doing them. Conscious to take time to breathe, to sit and think, to get outdoors, to spend time with our friends.
At the end of the day, life, like bike wheels, is all about balance. We hope you take this weekend to find your own.