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the box

Back in Panajachel (AKA Gringotenango) I go straight to the delivery depot to pick up my box. I enquire, as a matter of idle curiousity, why it wasn’t delivered to address that is clearly printed on the carton and the women shrugs, indifferently. “They couldn’t find it,” she offers by way of somewhat inadequate – since the package was addressed to the care of a well-known Panajachel school – explanation.

The box arrives. It has been a production months and months in the making and, finally, I manage to get my hands on it!

I lose no time in going to Matthew and Nancy’s house where my dismembered bike is occupying the yard in the company of a flock of colourful and well dressed chickens.

The chickens sport colourful 'saddles' which are intended to protect them from the amorous, but violent, attentions of the rooster. Personally, I would chop his head off and have chicken soup for lunch.

Amongst a few other goodies, I have been sent a completely new drive train: cassette, rings, crank set and bottom bracket. Elements of this largess reflect a slightly different style from my own – and one which challenges my instinctive resistance to change in technological matters.

My square taper bottom bracket and cranks are being ousted by a modern two part system that requires a special tool to install and remove. Truth be told, all cranks and bottom brackets require special tools but any bike shop in the world has the ones needed for the square taper system – and, in theory, at least, spare parts for when things go wrong. The tool needed for this system I am going to have to carry myself if I want the option of working on my bike. I install the new system with some trepidation and stash my old crank set in the bottom of my food pannier.

A convenient tree and some cord provide a makeshift bike stand which allows me to attempt, at least, to adjust the derailleurs so the gears change smoothly.

The chickens wander back and forth through my makeshift outdoor workshop.

The final, and the most controversial, items in the box is a pair of cycling shoes and cleats. I have always been highly opposed to being clipped in; the concept triggers something like latent claustrophobia, a distinct and visceral discomfort with the idea of confinement and restriction. However, a set of reversible SPD pedals have been weighing down my food pannier, in the spot now occupied by my old cranks, since I visited London where they had been sitting in the basement for years, ever since I summarily removed them from my first ‘touring’ bike, which I bought from a vicar in Abersytwyth on eBay. Now, it seems, finally, I am ready to go over to the over side.

Going over to the other side! I have always been highly resistant to the idea of clipping in but I'm going to give it a go for a while. Needless to say, my old pedals join my old crank set in the bottom of my food pannier. I'm not much good at this lightweighter business, am I?

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Babs | March 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    …and what a beautiful box it is!

  2. Cesca | March 7, 2011 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Way to go, Anna. I hope the gain in pedalling efficiency outweighs the psychological discomfort of being ‘grafted’ to your bike. Good to see your bike is getting some TLC!

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