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Biking like a wally?! (or why A-level physics was actually quite important!)

Church was on on Sunday and for it being a bit apocalyptic with all the space and tape everywhere, it was actually quite good. It was good to be a building with people that are lovely and who I usually spend a lot of time talking to. After that I did my usual post-church thing:  I went for an amazing bike ride and just loved that feeling of the wind between my ears. It was epic. I went on my ride on one of my usual routes, which goes down a MASSIVE hill. On said massive hill, my brakes worked. They worked better than I was expecting in all honesty; sometimes they can be a bit guff and not particularly effective. However, on Sunday, we had the opposite problem. My brakes stuck and it just made peddling so much harder. So at the bottom of the Avoncliffe Hill, I decided to get off my bike and take a look.

That was the first of my idiot moments- shortly hereafter followed quite a few more. I got off my bike and had a fiddle with the wheel, pretending I knew what I was doing all the time, and then looked at the brake discs. All this time I was pretending like I knew what I was doing. I can categorically say that I did not know what I was doing. I still do not, which is why I have booked my bike in for a service next week. But back to Sunday’s escapades.

I had dismounted and checked out the wheels, pretending I knew stuff about things, which in reality I did not. Forgetting that I have A level physics and an engineering degree amongst other things, I then proceeded to be a complete and utter wally. I decided it was a sensible thing to do to touch the brake disk, the brake disk that had just seen me down that MASSIVE hill, the brake disk that is powered by friction. The brake disk that was powered by friction, that was rubbed to hell and back down Avoncliffe hill and then was really, REALLY, fires-of-hell-hot.

I know it is hard to believe, but I burnt my finger. I really burned my finger. I am a wally.

The silly thing is, I didn’t even consider the reality of touching a brake disk in my lack-of wisdom. I just wanted to see if there was something there, causing it to stick.

There are a few ways to read this, other than me being profoundly daft. One is that sometimes, the education you have had could serve you well- physics being what it is- and it could have prevented me from hurting my hand. The other is that actually, the education we need for a moment in time, isn’t the one we had for a lot of time. My education was very academic and booky- I am a huge geek. A booky education wasn’t much use in the instant where I burnt my finger.

I think however, another way to read this, is that sometimes the education we need is a practical, applied education that has real-life context. I am 99.99% sure that the gentleman who will service my bike on Wednesday would not be as big a wally as I am. He fixes bikes and runs an amazing charity-based bike workshop. He would know better.

Sometimes what we need is practical and finding that in our current system is just so blooming tricky.

Also, again, I am an idiot!

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