Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I used to be a fettler

I have a confession. I used to enjoy a fettle. Ensconced in the garage for a couple of hours, random rock/metal MP3s blasting out, grease in one hand, tool in the other... fettling away. I could fettle all afternoon sometimes, especially at the weekend. On occasion I'd fettle on a weekday evening with my girlfriend slumped on the sofa upstairs - our garage is under the house so I could fettle without fear, confident that I'd hear anyone coming downstairs before they caught me.

I fettle very little now. Since I've drifted to road riding more and more, there is much less need. Mountain bike riding a few times a week would mean that I'd often have a few things that needed sorting out - a crunching noise, a sticky cable or a loose nipple. Road bikes don't lead to as many issues - I admit there might be the odd saddle sore or stubbly leg - but generally the bikes don't need much maintenance.

This has left a gap in my life - I'm lacking something constructive I can do when I'm not riding. I'm starting to think about ideas, options, outside interests. The odd internet site. Staring too long at a shapely frame. Flicking through magazines with arty photography of continental beauties. Daydreaming about throwing my leg over a real head turner. A real head turner that I've given a damn good fettling.

So what should it be? A slim classic with a few miles on it, in need of a tender hand and a good buffing?  A British model with a good name, history and heritage? A younger Italian with retro style? Tommasini, Pegoretti, Milani or Cinelli? Roberts, Bob Jackson, Carlton or a lilac Harry Quinn?

Choices, choices... still, most of the fun is in the fantasy. I think I can keep my fettling dreams going a while longer.
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