Adrian's personal mailing list
Edition 0.026
Dear <<First Name>>,

When my bike breaks I take it to the shop. It's a complex machine comprised of parts that I don’t fully comprehend. It’s easier to let the pros do the work so I don’t have to invest the time and mental capacity to understand its intimidating components. I’d probably make the problem worse anyway.

That’s how I felt about bikes until recently. 

While visiting family in Nebraska I purchased a 1976 Schwinn Varsity ten speed bike. To most eyes it looks like a piece of junk, a relic of the past. And it is that. But...

A machine changes when you decide to care for it yourself. After you replace its worn cables and chain, clean its caked innards, scour its every surface, you can’t help but feel affection for it. There is a little of you invested inside its aged frame. Likewise, there are bits of that bike in you. Your mind has been permanently altered because while you thought you were working on a machine, you were really working on yourself. 

New passages were carved in the caverns of your mind. You mastered new tools, formed new mental models of various materials, gained knowledge about gears and grease, and earned a respect for that machine that isn’t based on fear and uncertainty. No, now you have the ability to control it, to alter its shape. 

Every hour spent communing with a machine is a chance to connect to the minds who shaped the steel. If you feel disconnected from the world, you can do worse than to buy an old bike and fix it up. It will give you hope that despite all appearances there are still creative minds shaping the machines we serve. 

I’ll write again next Sunday. Stay creative.

Your friend, 
Copyright © 2020 Adrian Hanft, All rights reserved.

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