Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Friday, February 8, 2013

True Wheels, True Self

Wheel Building, part 2

So I've recently had a chance to add wheel building to the eclectic mix of bike nerd skills I've acquired this year.

Once you've got the wheel laced and get a little tension happening you have to start dealing with lateral truing and radial truing. The wheels I've been building for Charlie have been a challenging set to true radially (i.e. the wheel ought to be a circle, not an oblong-circle-like-thing). No wheel is perfect but these have not been easy. Which has been entirely to my advantage because I get to learn more.

Lateral true: you spin the wheel in between a set of calipers and identify spots that are warping up (or out, depending upon how you look at it I guess) and tighen the opposite side. Little by little as you deal with the problem areas the calipers come in and the standard deviation of wobbliness (not a technical term), is reduced until your wheel has only maybe one or two millimeters of imperfection.

Radial true: How good of a circle is it? My rims have some impressive deviation in this regard. Truing radially has taken quite a long time. Still dealing with one problem area at a time, refining the wheel through patience, diligent attention to detail, and an understanding of the bigger picture.

Once again bicycles help get the deeper meaning out of life. We're not perfect, but how well we roll depends on how we refine ourselves. Just as no one spoke has provided the easy answer to all my wheel building problems, no one quick fix makes life suddenly trouble free.

We deal with the obstacles as they come up, refining as we go - just like building the wheel. Without an understanding of the bigger picture we might get too caught up in the details and make things worse, but if we ignore the details we cannot refine the current situation.

Wheels are of course meant to be used. Not just admired, even if they are ever so pretty, like those I am building for Charlie. Through use they break in, and sometimes are damaged, need a spoke replaced, need to be trued again. They also say wheel building is an art form. Our lives are like this, best when used, continuously a work in progress. An art form that's never quite done.

And isn't that the best part?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License