February 10th, 2013
Bikes Fixed: 7
Bikes/Day Avg: 1.4
This will be a short post since I’m exhausted. But hey, I’m exhausted in a “lots of awesome stuff is happening” sort of way.
First off, some more donations coming in now that I’ve left, so that’s awesome. I’ll find time to update the thermometer soon, I promise.
Second, I want to touch just a little bit more on something I mentioned last time, item number three in Ten Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America, “We Know Nothing About Other Countries.”
I stand by what I said last time but I also wanted to add that it is especially true when taken in a comparative sense. Even if I thought I knew something about other countries, I’m finding that most Indians know one-hundred times more about America than I know about India. The people here really care about what is happening elsewhere in the world. In the US I think we’re a little self-absorbed… but we’re getting off topic. Being in India is like taking my 7th grade history class all over again. “Oh, that reminds me, I wanted to ask — when was the civil war?”
“What number president was Lincoln?”
“Could you outline the differences between Democrats and Republicans for me?”
“Why are the parties called democratic and republican?”
“How do you feel about gun control?”
“What’s your favorite amendment to the US Constitution?”
“Talk to me about economic mobility in the states.”
– – –
Talk to me about overhauling a Shimano Deore hubset.
So today a few guys from the local cycling group had me over to talk about bikes. We took a bike and I went through piece-by-piece, talking about and occasionally demonstrating how to overhaul or adjust it. We also just shot the shit. Lots of pictures were taken.
Oh right! Pictures!
See? I’m getting better at this whole “You know that thing called a camera?” thing.
So anyways, the seminar went well, and Ajay (the fellow hosting) got the idea that to raise more money for my project, I could host more seminars with a suggested donation. So then Viju, a mechanic who had come, said he thought he could get his shop to host the class. So now it looks like I’ll be hosting DIY-bicycle mechanic seminars once a week.
Thanks for hosting, Ajay!
On top of that, Viju thinks Firefox Bikes (the shop where he works) would host me anywhere in India if I wanted to do these seminars. The way I see it, they get an experienced mechanic to answer all their questions, PR, an excuse to contact their customer base, people coming into the shop, and probably some sales if I happen to recommend a product that they sell. I get to travel India and talk about bikes.
The travel bit is still in the elementary planning stages, so no promises yet. As well, since Firefox is a higher-end bicycle ship — not necessarily the demographic I’m here to work with — I would want to fix 90 bikes before doing the tour. I think I can do that. Either way, I promised to be open and honest about what goes on and the way the money donated to this project is spent, and I want to stick to that. Re: The finances for this trip. I’m thinking I can get Firefox to put me up, so this un-demographically related travel would not come out of the donated funds. On the other hand, if you can think of a way to address the lower-income bracket with this sort of thing, please post it in the comments or e-mail it to me.
Anyways, after the seminar Viju and Rajan took off, and Ajay and I sat and talked for about half an hour on everything from politics to education policy to the caste system and architecture.
Needless to say, I’m really enjoying India.
My face is not.
(this photo purely for laughs)
Oh, and speaking of “India is Happening,” I may or may not have mentioned that Nashiit’s (Prabhat’s son, but spelled wrong) guitar teacher wants me to play a gig with his band. In the mean time, Nashiit and I rock out together every now and then. Also, Nashiit happens to know the Top Gun theme on guitar.
So yea, I’m really glad I brought my accordion.
I should write a song called “India Skyline.”
– – –
Also I want to film my daily commute because I think it alone will tell you quite a bit about India. I say this publicly to make myself do it. There are trickinesses like my camera’s short battery life, among other things, which is why it hasn’t happened yet. But I think it will be an incredibly revealing video. Anyways — off to bed.
But not without a photo of a bicycle rickshaw first.