Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! I put it together again (see part I, if you don’t know what I’m talking about). I fixed the bottom bracket by putting in loose 1/4″ bearings as per the instructions on Sheldon Brown’s site. At the same time, I cleaned the chain and the rear wheel hub, and I washed the bike. Now it’s nice and shiny. I also noticed two broken rear spokes (1.5 to be precise), so I went to the LBS and got two replacement spokes. Cost $1.43. I then spent some time truing the wheel again after putting it back on.

There’s something to be said for riding a bike that has just been tuned and fixed, but there is even more to be said for the ride when you fixed it yourself. Yes, I spent half a day on it(*), but I sincerely doubt that spending half a day working and then paying a mechanic to fix it for me would have resulted in the same kind of satisfaction.
And satisfaction is the true and significant bottom line. Not whatever your bank account says. IOW if you’re rich but not satisfied, what’s the point again?

(*) Next time will likely be much faster since I won’t have to redo steps due to oversights.

In fact, I notice there are two kinds of people in the world:

The first kind just want things to work. They either do not care to make, repair, or maintain things themselves or they do not know how. They are willing to pay top dollar to get others to do it for them. Alternatively, they will just throw the old thing away and buy a replacement. On a philosophical note this can easily lead to the attitude that all problems can be solved with a credit card and a bunch of phone calls, even serious problems.

The second kind like to make and/or fix things themselves. They gain a satisfaction from being so competent, and also from not having to wait until Monday morning if the toilet backs up on a Sunday evening. On a parallel philosophical note, I think this group has a far better understanding of what can and can not be solved in the real world.

I’d venture that only the second kind has a serious shot at early retirement as they only need to save enough money to cover the few things they can not make themselves such as real estate taxes, CAT scans, etc. The rest costs nothing except time.

Obviously if you do not get any satisfaction from personal competence, you belong in the first group. I’m not saying that people either belong exclusively to one group or the other. Based on personal experience(**) I would rather buy a scarf than knit it myself.

(**) After learning how to knit on the internet, I managed to make a scarf about 10″ long before I handed the project over to my mother.

Originally posted 2009-06-21 00:03:59.